Melatonin induces the transcripts of CBF/DREB1s and their involvement in both abiotic and biotic stresses in Arabidopsis

Haitao Shi, Yongqiang Qian, Dun Xian Tan, Russel J Reiter, Chaozu He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a naturally occurring small molecule that acts as an important secondary messenger in plant stress responses. However, the mechanism underlying the melatonin-mediated signaling pathway in plant stress responses has not been established. C-repeat-binding factors (CBFs)/Drought response element Binding 1 factors (DREB1s) encode transcription factors that play important roles in plant stress responses. This study has determined that endogenous melatonin and transcripts level of CBFs (AtCBF1, AtCBF2, and AtCBF3) in Arabidopsis leaves were significantly induced by salt, drought, and cold stresses and by pathogen Pseudomonas syringe pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000 infection. Moreover, both exogenous melatonin treatment and overexpression of CBFs conferred enhanced resistance to both abiotic and biotic stresses in Arabidopsis. Notably, AtCBFs and exogenous melatonin treatment positively regulated the mRNA expression of several stress-responsive genes (COR15A, RD22, and KIN1) and accumulation of soluble sugars content such as sucrose in Arabidopsis under control and stress conditions. Additionally, exogenous sucrose also conferred improved resistance to both abiotic and biotic stresses in Arabidopsis. Taken together, this study indicates that AtCBFs confer enhanced resistance to both abiotic and biotic stresses, and AtCBF-mediated signaling pathway and sugar accumulation may be involved in melatonin-mediated stress response in Arabidopsis, at least partially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015



  • abiotic and biotic stresses
  • Arabidopsis
  • CBF/DREB1s
  • melatonin
  • transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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