Cold environment is the main constraint for tea plants (Camellia sinensis) distribution and tea farming. We identified two tea cultivars, called var. sinensis cv. Shuchazao (SCZ) with a high cold-tolerance and var. assamica cv. Yinghong9 (YH9) with low cold-tolerance. To better understand the response mechanism of tea plants under cold stress for improving breeding, we compared physiological and biochemical responses, and associated genes expression in response to 7-day and 14-day cold acclimation, followed by 7-day de-acclimation in these two tea cultivars. We found that the low EL50, low Fv/Fm, and high sucrose and raffinose accumulation are responsible for higher cold tolerance in SCZ comparing with YH9. We then measured the expression of 14 key homologous genes, known as involved in these responses in other plants, for each stages of treatment in both cultivars using RT-qPCR. Our results suggested that the increased expression of CsCBF1 and CsDHNs coupling with the accumulation of sucrose play key roles in conferring higher cold resistance in SCZ. Our findings have revealed key genes regulation responsible for cold resistance, which help to understand the cold-resistant mechanisms and guide breeding in tea plants.
Ban, Q., Wang, X., Pan, C., Wang, Y., Kong, L., Jiang, H., … Jiang, C. (2017). Comparative analysis of the response and gene regulation in cold resistant and susceptible tea plants. PLoS ONE, 12(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188514