Biotech Updates

Overexpression of BB-CBF Enhances Cold Tolerance in Blueberry

March 23, 2012

Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) is an economically important small fruit with an annual wholesale value of over half a billion dollars in the U.S. However, blueberry cultivars have the tendency to get freezing damage during winter and early spring. Aaron Walworth of Michigan State University and colleagues conducted a study to better understand the genetic mechanisms involved in freezing tolerance of woody plant blueberry.

Walworth isolated the gene that induces the expression of other genes linked to cold acclimation and freezing tolerance from a cold-tolerant cultivar called Bluecrop. The isolated gene (BB-CBF) was introduced to Legacy (cold-sensitive cultivar) using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Out of the 57 transgenic lines produced,  29 lines were evaluated and showed freezing tolerance in the mature leaves, dormant buds, and/or flowers.

The team also found out that C-repeat binding factor (CBF)-mediated cold-response pathway functions in the cold acclimation of blueberry, which implies that overexpression of BB-CBF could help reduce crop losses caused by damaging freezes in winter or early spring.

Read the research article at