Research Topic

Winter Survival in the Common Garden - Molecular Aspects of Frost Tolerance in Perennials

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Plants are sessile organisms, therefore they have evolved numerous biological mechanisms to maintain essential functions such as growth and reproduction under unfavourable environmental conditions. To fully understand plant stress functionality as a whole, one has to consider stress response at the molecular, ...

Plants are sessile organisms, therefore they have evolved numerous biological mechanisms to maintain essential functions such as growth and reproduction under unfavourable environmental conditions. To fully understand plant stress functionality as a whole, one has to consider stress response at the molecular, cellular and organ level, including its temporal dimensions. Such responses, also involving acclimation processes and adaption, are known to be highly evolutionary conserved throughout the plant kingdom. Abiotic stress generally impairs crop production worldwide. Both drought and UV light, salinity and temperature changes negatively affect plant growth, and the current estimation of human population growth indicates famine threats in the near future.
One might expect differing cold acclimation and cold tolerance strategies when studying different plant tissues and organs. The induction of characteristic metabolic and biochemical changes is especially important, when comparing annual and perennial plant species. In view of the apparent limitations of biological information gained from studies in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, a need for new plant models with closer relationship to economically important species in agriculture and forestry has been postulated. The list of common reference models utilized for experiments on plant stress and cold/frost tolerance in particular, include both gymnosperms and angiosperms, mono- and dicot species, e.g. Norway Spruce (Picea abies L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), and woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.).
The present research topic on cold adaption and cold tolerance puts focus on regulatory mechanisms and stress functioning in perennial crops also including forestry species, with particular emphasis on protein metabolism and metabolic changes. Recent studies on plant cold tolerance at the cellular and molecular level, preferably also in the context of dormancy and dehardening processes, will be highlighted in order to improve our understanding of plant stress responses and thus, emphasize research perspectives and future progress in the field. Original research articles, position papers and reviews on specific aspects of cold tolerance mechanisms are welcome. Furthermore, also papers based on global omics approaches addressing certain aspects of cold stress related to biochemical composition, metabolite regulation and network functioning in perennial plants will be included in the topic.


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