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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF FREEZING TOLERANCE IN WINTER WHEAT Title: Production of reactive oxygen species by freezing stress and the protective roles of antioxidant enzymes in plants

Authors
item Baek, K. -
item Skinner, Daniel

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 23, 2012
Publication Date: November 29, 2012
Citation: Baek, K.H., Skinner, D.Z. 2012. Production of reactive oxygen species by freezing stress and the protective roles of antioxidant enzymes in plants. Journal of Agricultural Chemistry. 1:34-40. doi:10.4236/jacen.2012.11006.

Interpretive Summary: The role of antioxidant enzymes in freezing tolerance of plants is discussed and differential responses to cold temperature of sequence variants of manganese superoxide dismutase genes in wheat are described. Different forms of the gene appeared to respond differently when the plants were exposed to mild, subfreezing temperatures. The potential to improve cold tolerance by selecting plants highly expressing specific forms of given genes are discussed.

Technical Abstract: As one of the most severe environmental stresses, freezing stress can determine the distribution range of native flora in nature and severely reduce crop production. Many mechanisms have been proposed to explain the damage induced by freezing-thawing cycle, and oxidative stress caused by uncontrollable production of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) are partially contributed to causing the injury. Plants in temperate regions have evolved a unique but effective metabolism of protecting themselves called cold acclimation. Cold-acclimating plants undergo a complex but orchestrated metabolic process to increase cold hardness triggered by exposure to low temperature and shortened photoperiod and achieve the maximum freezing tolerance by a concerted regulation and expression of a number of cold responsive genes. A complicated enzymatic system have been evolved in plants to scavenge the ROS to protect themselves from oxidative stress, therefore, cold-acclimating plants are expected to increase the de novo synthesis of the genes of antioxidant genes. Indeed, many antioxidant genes increase the expression levels in response to low temperature. Furthermore, the higher expression of many antioxidant enzymes are positively correlated to inducing higher tolerance levels against freezing. All the information summarized here can be applied for developing crop and horticultural plants to have more freezing tolerance for higher production with better quality. There have been extensive studies on the activities of antioxidant enzymes and the gene regulation, however, more researches will be required in near future to elucidate the most effective antioxidant enzymes to induce highest freezing tolerance in a crop plant in a transformation process or a breeding program.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014