Nucleotide Imbalance, Provoked by Downregulation of Aspartate Transcarbamoylase Impairs Cold Acclimation in Arabidopsis
Aspartate transcarbamoylase ( ATC ) catalyzes the first committed step in pyrimidine de novo synthesis. As shown before, mutants with 80% reduced transcript and protein levels exhibit reduced levels of pyrimidine metabolites and thus nucleotide limitation and imbalance. Consequently, reduced photosynthetic capacity and growth, accompanied by massive transcriptional changes, were observed. Here, we show that nucleotide de novo synthesis was upregulated during cold acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana (ecotype Columbia, Col-0) plants, but ATC knockdown mutants failed to acclimate to this condition as they did not accumulate neutral sugars and anthocyanins. A global transcriptome analysis revealed that most of the transcriptional changes observed in Col-0 plants upon cold exposure were also evident in ATC knockdown plants. However, several responses observed in cold-treated Col-0 plants could already be detected in knockdown plants when grown under standard conditions, suggesting that these mutants exhibited typical cold responses without prior cold stimulation. We believe that nucleotide signaling is involved in “cold-like priming” and “cold acclimation” in general. The observed transcript levels of genes involved in central carbon metabolism and respiration were an exception to these findings. These were upregulated in the cold but downregulated in warm-grown ATC mutants.