Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2023, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (6): 966-981.DOI: 10.11983/CBB22248

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Research Progress in Plant Antifreeze Protein

Xiaoyun Dong1,2, Jiaping Wei1, Junmei Cui1, Zefeng Wu1, Guoqiang Zheng1,2, Hui Li1,2, Ying Wang1,2, Haiyan Tian1,2, Zigang Liu1,2,*()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Aridland Crop Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    2College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2022-10-20 Accepted:2023-03-08 Online:2023-11-01 Published:2023-11-27
  • Contact: * E-mail:

Abstract: Temperature is one of the major environmental determinants of plant geographical distribution. Plants distri- buted at high latitudes or altitudes usually suffer a period of sub-zero temperature during their life cycle. When the ambient temperature drops to the freezing point, the water molecules in plants form ice crystals, causing fatal damage to plant tissue structure. In order to adapt to the freezing environment, the pathogenesis-related protein PR (PR) and its related WRKY transcription factors in cold climate plants have evolved into antifreeze proteins (AFPs) that can bind specifically to the ice surface and effectively inhibit the formation and growth of ice crystals. Currently, AFPs have been identified in nearly 100 plant species, such as winter rye (Secale cereale). Compared with insect AFPs, plant AFPs have extremely high recrystallization inhibition activity, which can effectively prevent the formation of large ice crystals in vivo. Both low temperature and pathogens can induce AFP synthesis in cold climate plants. Interestingly, only the cold-induced AFPs have dual molecular functions as hydrolase/antifreeze activity. The PR-AFPs, however, possess only one of hydrolase/antifreeze activites, whose conversion is controlled/regulated by post-translational peptide differential folding, as suggested with growing evidence. AFP has gradually become one of the hot targets in botanical research due to its unique molecular function and its promising applications. This paper will provide a systematic review of recent progress in this area.

Key words: plant antifreeze protein, antifreeze activity, molecular evolution, expression regulation