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Gene Review

DREB1A  -  dehydration-responsive element-binding...

Arabidopsis thaliana

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Disease relevance of DREB1A

  • Expression of the DREB1A gene and its two homologs was induced by low-temperature stress, whereas expression of the DREB2A gene and its single homolog was induced by dehydration [1].
  • However, use of the strong constitutive 35S cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter to drive expression of DREB1A also resulted in severe growth retardation under normal growing conditions [2].

High impact information on DREB1A

  • ICE1 binds specifically to the MYC recognition sequences in the CBF3 promoter [3].
  • However, some genes downstream of DREB2A are not downstream of DREB1A, which also recognizes DRE/CRT but functions in cold stress-responsive gene expression [4].
  • Mutations in the Ca2+/H+ transporter CAX1 increase CBF/DREB1 expression and the cold-acclimation response in Arabidopsis [5].
  • This phenotype correlates with the enhanced expression of CBF/DREB1 genes and their corresponding targets in response to low temperature [5].
  • The transcript levels of approximately 8000 genes were determined at multiple times after plants were transferred from warm to cold temperature and in warm-grown plants that constitutively expressed CBF1, CBF2, or CBF3 [6].

Chemical compound and disease context of DREB1A


Biological context of DREB1A


Associations of DREB1A with chemical compounds

  • Similar to other DREB1A/CBF3 homologs, expression of the LpCBF3 is induced by cold stress, but not by abscisic acid (ABA), drought, or salinity [10].
  • To assess the functional significance of these two residues in binding to the target sequence, the Val (14th residue) and Glu (19th residue) of the AP2/EREBP domain of DREB1A (a transcription factor of the DREBP subgroup) were mutated individually or doubly to Ala and Asp, respectively [11].
  • Plants overexpressing CBF3 also had elevated P5CS transcript levels suggesting that the increase in Pro levels resulted, at least in part, from increased expression of the key Pro biosynthetic enzyme Delta(1)-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase [12].
  • This has been thought to occur via two separate signaling pathways, with ABA acting via ABA-responsive promoter elements and low temperature activating the C-repeat element (CRT; dehydration-responsive) promoter element via CBF (DREB1) transcription factors [13].
  • Based on the conserved 14th valine and 19th glutamic acid residues in the ERF/AP2 domain, a basic amino acid stretch (PKKPAGRKKFR) near its N-terminal region, and DSAW signature sequence at the end of its ERF/AP2 domain, Ca-DREBLP1 was classified as a member of a DREB1-type subfamily [14].

Physical interactions of DREB1A

  • Transcription factors of the DREBP subgroup and the EREBP subgroup contain conserved DNA-binding domains called AP2/EREBP domains, which specifically bind to DRE cis-element and GCC-box, respectively [11].

Regulatory relationships of DREB1A

  • The ice1 mutation blocks the expression of CBF3 and decreases the expression of many genes downstream of CBFs, which leads to a significant reduction in plant chilling and freezing tolerance [3].

Other interactions of DREB1A

  • Arabidopsis CBF3/DREB1A and ABF3 in transgenic rice increased tolerance to abiotic stress without stunting growth [15].
  • Northern analysis of abiotic marker genes revealed that dehydration-responsive element (DRE)B2A but not DREB1A, RD (response to dehydration)29A or RD22 was expressed in adr1 plant lines [16].
  • Together, our data indicate that the calcium sensor protein CBL1 may constitute an integrative node in plant responses to abiotic stimuli and contributes to the regulation of early stress-related transcription factors of the C-Repeat-Binding Factor/dehydration-responsive element (CBF/DREB) type [17].
  • It has been shown previously that the cold regulation of CBF3 involves an upstream bHLH-type transcription factor, ICE1 [18].
  • In contrast, expression of DREB1A from the stress inducible rd29A promoter gave rise to minimal effects on plant growth while providing an even greater tolerance to stress conditions than did expression of the gene from the CaMV promoter [2].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of DREB1A

  • We prepared a cDNA microarray using approximately 1300 full-length Arabidopsis cDNAs to identify drought- and cold-inducible genes and target genes of DREB1A/CBF3, a transcription factor that controls stress-inducible gene expression [19].
  • Northern blot analysis using gene-specific probes showed that the 3 DREB1 genes are induced mainly by cold stress but not by osmotic stress in leaves, roots, and stems [8].
  • In our efforts to enhance drought tolerance in wheat, the A. thaliana DREB1A gene was placed under control of a stress-inducible promoter from the rd29A gene and transferred via biolistic transformation into bread wheat [20].
  • Gel mobility shift assay using mutant DREB proteins showed that the two amino acids, valine and glutamic acid conserved in the ERF/AP2 domains, especially valine, have important roles in DNA-binding specificity [21].
  • We identified a DREB1A/CBF3-like gene, designated LpCBF3, from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) by using RT-PCR and RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA end) [10].


  1. Two transcription factors, DREB1 and DREB2, with an EREBP/AP2 DNA binding domain separate two cellular signal transduction pathways in drought- and low-temperature-responsive gene expression, respectively, in Arabidopsis. Liu, Q., Kasuga, M., Sakuma, Y., Abe, H., Miura, S., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinozaki, K. Plant Cell (1998) [Pubmed]
  2. Improving plant drought, salt, and freezing tolerance by gene transfer of a single stress-inducible transcription factor. Kasuga, M., Liu, Q., Miura, S., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinozaki, K. Nat. Biotechnol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. ICE1: a regulator of cold-induced transcriptome and freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis. Chinnusamy, V., Ohta, M., Kanrar, S., Lee, B.H., Hong, X., Agarwal, M., Zhu, J.K. Genes Dev. (2003) [Pubmed]
  4. Functional Analysis of an Arabidopsis Transcription Factor, DREB2A, Involved in Drought-Responsive Gene Expression. Sakuma, Y., Maruyama, K., Osakabe, Y., Qin, F., Seki, M., Shinozaki, K., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K. Plant Cell (2006) [Pubmed]
  5. Mutations in the Ca2+/H+ transporter CAX1 increase CBF/DREB1 expression and the cold-acclimation response in Arabidopsis. Catala, R., Santos, E., Alonso, J.M., Ecker, J.R., Martinez-Zapater, J.M., Salinas, J. Plant Cell (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. Arabidopsis transcriptome profiling indicates that multiple regulatory pathways are activated during cold acclimation in addition to the CBF cold response pathway. Fowler, S., Thomashow, M.F. Plant Cell (2002) [Pubmed]
  7. Arabidopsis mutants deregulated in RCI2A expression reveal new signaling pathways in abiotic stress responses. Medina, J., Rodríguez-Franco, M., Peñalosa, A., Carrascosa, M.J., Neuhaus, G., Salinas, J. Plant J. (2005) [Pubmed]
  8. An Arabidopsis gene family encoding DRE/CRT binding proteins involved in low-temperature-responsive gene expression. Shinwari, Z.K., Nakashima, K., Miura, S., Kasuga, M., Seki, M., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinozaki, K. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1998) [Pubmed]
  9. CBF2/DREB1C is a negative regulator of CBF1/DREB1B and CBF3/DREB1A expression and plays a central role in stress tolerance in Arabidopsis. Novillo, F., Alonso, J.M., Ecker, J.R., Salinas, J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Functional and phylogenetic analysis of a DREB/CBF-like gene in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Xiong, Y., Fei, S.Z. Planta (2006) [Pubmed]
  11. Effect of two conserved amino acid residues on DREB1A function. Cao, Z.F., Li, J., Chen, F., Li, Y.Q., Zhou, H.M., Liu, Q. Biochemistry Mosc. (2001) [Pubmed]
  12. Overexpression of the Arabidopsis CBF3 transcriptional activator mimics multiple biochemical changes associated with cold acclimation. Gilmour, S.J., Sebolt, A.M., Salazar, M.P., Everard, J.D., Thomashow, M.F. Plant Physiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  13. Abscisic acid induces CBF gene transcription and subsequent induction of cold-regulated genes via the CRT promoter element. Knight, H., Zarka, D.G., Okamoto, H., Thomashow, M.F., Knight, M.R. Plant Physiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  14. Isolation and functional characterization of the Ca-DREBLP1 gene encoding a dehydration-responsive element binding-factor-like protein 1 in hot pepper (Capsicum annuum L. cv. Pukang). Hong, J.P., Kim, W.T. Planta (2005) [Pubmed]
  15. Arabidopsis CBF3/DREB1A and ABF3 in transgenic rice increased tolerance to abiotic stress without stunting growth. Oh, S.J., Song, S.I., Kim, Y.S., Jang, H.J., Kim, S.Y., Kim, M., Kim, Y.K., Nahm, B.H., Kim, J.K. Plant Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  16. Drought tolerance established by enhanced expression of the CC-NBS-LRR gene, ADR1, requires salicylic acid, EDS1 and ABI1. Chini, A., Grant, J.J., Seki, M., Shinozaki, K., Loake, G.J. Plant J. (2004) [Pubmed]
  17. The calcium sensor CBL1 integrates plant responses to abiotic stresses. Albrecht, V., Weinl, S., Blazevic, D., D'Angelo, C., Batistic, O., Kolukisaoglu, U., Bock, R., Schulz, B., Harter, K., Kudla, J. Plant J. (2003) [Pubmed]
  18. A R2R3 Type MYB Transcription Factor Is Involved in the Cold Regulation of CBF Genes and in Acquired Freezing Tolerance. Agarwal, M., Hao, Y., Kapoor, A., Dong, C.H., Fujii, H., Zheng, X., Zhu, J.K. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
  19. Monitoring the expression pattern of 1300 Arabidopsis genes under drought and cold stresses by using a full-length cDNA microarray. Seki, M., Narusaka, M., Abe, H., Kasuga, M., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Carninci, P., Hayashizaki, Y., Shinozaki, K. Plant Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
  20. Stress-induced expression in wheat of the Arabidopsis thaliana DREB1A gene delays water stress symptoms under greenhouse conditions. Pellegrineschi, A., Reynolds, M., Pacheco, M., Brito, R.M., Almeraya, R., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Hoisington, D. Genome (2004) [Pubmed]
  21. DNA-binding specificity of the ERF/AP2 domain of Arabidopsis DREBs, transcription factors involved in dehydration- and cold-inducible gene expression. Sakuma, Y., Liu, Q., Dubouzet, J.G., Abe, H., Shinozaki, K., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2002) [Pubmed]
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