Genome-wide circadian gating of a cold temperature response in bread wheat

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Circadian rhythms coordinate the responses of organisms to their daily fluctuating environments, by establishing a temporal program of gene expression. This schedules aspects of metabolism, physiology, development and behaviour according to the time of day. Circadian regulation in plants is extremely pervasive, and is important because it underpins both productivity and seasonal reproduction. Circadian regulation extends to the control of environmental responses through a regulatory process known as circadian gating. Circadian gating is the process whereby the circadian clock regulates the response to an environmental cue, such that the magnitude of response to an identical cue varies according to the time of day of the cue. Here, we show that there is genome-wide circadian gating of responses to cold temperatures in plants. By using bread wheat as an experimental model, we establish that circadian gating is crucial to the programs of gene expression that underlie the environmental responses of a crop of major socioeconomic importance. Furthermore, we identify that circadian gating of cold temperature responses are distributed unevenly across the three wheat subgenomes, which might reflect the geographical origins of the ancestors of modern wheat.