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Article|11 Jul 2023|OPEN
Chilling stress drives organ-specific transcriptional cascades and dampens diurnal oscillation in tomato
Tina Agarwal1,2 , Xiaojin Wang1,2 , Frederick Mildenhall1,2 , Iskander M. Ibrahim1,3 , Sujith Puthiyaveetil1,3 , Kranthi Varala,1,2 ,
1Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2Purdue Center for Plant Biology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad137 (2023)
Views: 108

Received: 07 Apr 2023
Accepted: 02 Jul 2023
Published online: 11 Jul 2023


Improving chilling tolerance in cold-sensitive crops, e.g. tomato, requires knowledge of the early molecular response to low temperature in these under-studied species. To elucidate early responding processes and regulators, we captured the transcriptional response at 30 minutes and 3 hours in the shoots and at 3 hours in the roots of tomato post-chilling from 24°C to 4°C. We used a pre-treatment control and a concurrent ambient temperature control to reveal that majority of the differential expression between cold and ambient conditions is due to severely compressed oscillation of a large set of diurnally regulated genes in both the shoots and roots. This compression happens within 30 minutes of chilling, lasts for the duration of cold treatment, and is relieved within 3 hours of return to ambient temperatures. Our study also shows that the canonical ICE1/CAMTA-to-CBF cold response pathway is active in the shoots, but not in the roots. Chilling stress induces synthesis of known cryoprotectants (trehalose and polyamines), in a CBF-independent manner, and induction of multiple genes encoding proteins of photosystems I and II. This study provides nuanced insights into the organ-specific response in a chilling sensitive plant, as well as the genes influenced by an interaction of chilling response and the circadian clock.