Arabidopsis plants show an increase in freezing tolerance in response to exposure to low nonfreezing temperatures, a phenomenon known as cold acclimation. In the present study, we evaluated the physiological and morphological responses of various Arabidopsis ecotypes to continuous growth under chilling (14°C) and cold (6°C) temperatures and evaluated their basal freezing tolerance levels. Seedlings of Arabidopsis plants were extremely sensitive to low growth temperatures: the hypocotyls and petioles were much longer and the angles of the second pair of true leaves were much greater in plants grown at 14°C than in those grown at 22°C, whereas just intermediate responses were observed under the cold temperature of 6°C. Flowering time was also markedly delayed at low growth temperatures and, interestingly, lower growth temperatures were accompanied by longer inflorescences. Other marked responses to low temperatures were changes in pigmentation, which appeared to be both ecotype specific and temperature dependent and resulted in various visual phenotypes such as chlorosis, necrosis or enhanced accumulation of anthocyanins. The observed decreases in chlorophyll contents and accumulation of anthocyanins were much more prominent in plants grown at 6°C than in those grown at 14°C. Among the various ecotypes tested, Mt-0 plants markedly accumulated the highest levels of anthocyanins upon growth at 6°C. Freezing tolerance examination revealed that among 10 ecotypes tested, only C24 plants were significantly more sensitive to subzero temperatures. In conclusion, Arabidopsis ecotypes responded differentially to cold (6°C), chilling (14°C) and freezing temperatures, with specific ecotypes being more sensitive in particular traits to each low temperature.
- Arabidopsis ecotypes