Submitted to: Current Genomics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2009
Publication Date: March 1, 2010
Citation: Volk, G.M. 2010. Application of functional genomics and proteomics to plant cryopreservation. Current Genomics. 11:24-29. Interpretive Summary: Plant cryobiology is a relatively new discipline whereby plant propagules are treated such that they survive liquid nitrogen in the desiccated state. The propagules can then be rehydrated and regenerated into plants or used successfully in crosses (such as pollen). Although in some cases it can be expensive to implement, cryopreservation conserves tissue culture or field collections for extended periods of time, thus limiting the costs of collection maintenance and reducing the chance of loss. The biochemical and biophysical response to cryoprotectants and liquid nitrogen is not well understood. Through the use of genomic tools, patterns of gene expression can be identified to determine how propagules respond to diverse cryoprotectant solutions and desiccation treatments. Genomics will also reveal key pathways necessary for ensuring successful recovery after liquid nitrogen exposure.
Technical Abstract: Plant cryobiology has primarily emerged from the classical fields of cryobiology and plant stress physiology. Cryopreservation tools are now available to geneticists for germplasm preservation and the field itself is advancing significantly through the use of molecular techniques. Long-term preservation of vegetatively propagated tissues can minimize the risks of long-term maintenance under tissue culture or field conditions. Cells can be successfully cryopreserved when the adverse affects of ice crystal formation are mitigated by the removal of water or procedures to limit ice formation and crystal growth. The addition of cryoprotectant solutions to hydrated cells may improve the survival of microdissected shoot tips or embryonic axes. Recent discoveries in the genetic pathways leading to cold acclimation and freezing tolerance suggest the involvement of key cold-regulated genes in the acquisition of cold tolerance in plant tissues. Model systems of banana and Arabidopsis have revealed the involvement of genes and proteins in the glycolytic and other metabolic pathways, particularly those involved in dehydration tolerance, osmoprotection and membrane transporters. Furthermore, successful recovery appears to be dependent upon the presence of antioxidant protection from reactive oxygen species. Characterization of specific genes and proteins has led to significant advances in plant cryobiology research.