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The effect of low temperature on metabolism of membrane lipids in plants and associated gene expression

Author(s): Cosmin Badea | Saikat Kumar Basu

Journal: Plant Omics
ISSN 1836-0661

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 78;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Lipid metabolism | desaturase enzymes | desaturation | gene expression

Lipid metabolism plays an important role in the mechanism of frost or cold-tolerance in plants. Plant membrane lipids have the tendency to change from gel to liquid-crystalline phase in response to low temperature stress. This process is due to the increased level of lipid desaturation. The responsible components of this process are, among others, the fatty acid desaturases. Controlling the activity of these enzymes affects the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids on the glycerol backbone and eventually controls the plants sensitivity to low temperature stress. These metabolic processes trigger a series of changes at the transcriptional level, causing differential expression in genes. Numerous approaches towards this process from chemical to the advanced mass spectrometry were taken during the past decades and several of them will be discussed in this minireview. Metabolomics and transcriptomics seem to be the keys towards describing these complex mechanisms and providing the necessary understanding of lipid metabolic response to low temperature stress.
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