Michael Thomashow Ph.D.

Michael Thomashow

Telephone: (517) 355-2299

Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

University Distinguished Professor; MSU Foundation Professor

Molecular genetics of plant freezing and drought tolerance; regulation of gene expression in response to environmental stress;


Microbiology & Molecular Genetics


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, CA,


Research Interests:

Link to Plant Research Lab Website


Lee CM, Thomashow MF (2012) Photoperiodic regulation of the C-repeat binding factor (CBF) cold acclimation pathway and freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:15054-15059.

Yang DL, Yao J, Mei CS, Tong XH, Zeng LJ, Li Q, Xiao LT, Sun TP, Li J, Deng XW, Lee CM, Thomashow MF, Yang Y, He Z, He SY (2012) Plant hormone jasmonate prioritizes defense over growth by interfering with gibberellin signaling cascade. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:E1192-200.

Carvallo M, Pino M-T, Jeknic Z, Zou C,  Doherty C, Shiu S-H, Chen THH,  Thomashow MF (2011) A comparison of the low temperature transcriptomes and CBF regulons of three plant species that differ in freezing tolerance—Solanum commersonii, Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana. J Experimental Botany 62: 3807-3819.

Dong MA, Farré EM, Thomashow MF (2011) CIRCADIAN CLOCK-ASSOCIATED and LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL regulate expression of the C-REPEAT BINDING FACTOR (CBF) pathway in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 7241-7246.

Hu P, Collings C, Chen J, Thomashow M (2011) Global regulation of Arabidopsis genes involved in photosynthesis (Poster), MSU-DOE Plant Research Review. East Lansing, MI 48824, July 21, 2011.

Zou C, Sun K, Mackaluso JD, Seddon AE, Jin R, Thomashow MF, Shiu SH (2011) Cis-regulatory code of stress responsive transcription in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 14992-14997.

Ayala-del-Río HL, Chain PS, Grzymski JJ, Ponder MA, Ivanova N, Bergholz PW, Di Bartolo G, Hauser L, Land M, Bakermans C, Rodrigues D, Klappenbach J, Zarka D,  Larimer F, Richardson P, Murray A, Thomashow M, Tiedje JM (2010) The genome sequence of Psychrobacter arcticus 273-4, a psychroactive Siberian permafrost bacterium, reveals mechanisms for adaptation to low-temperature growth. Appl Environ Micobiol 76: 2304-2312.

Canella D, Gilmour SJ, Kuhn LA, Thomashow MF (2010) DNA binding by the Arabidopsis CBF1 transcription factor required the PKKP/RAGRxKFxETRHP signature sequence. Biochim Biophys Acta 1799: 454-462 Abstract

Pavangadkar K, Thomashow MF, Triezenberg SJ (2010) Histone dynamics and roles of histone acetyltransferases during cold-induced gene regulation in Arabidopsis. Plant Mol Biol 74: 183-200 Abstract

Thomashow MF (2010) Molecular basis of plant cold acclimation: insights gained from studying the CBF cold response pathway. Plant Physiol 154: 571-577.

Bakermans C, Sloup RE, Zarka DG, Tiedje JM, Thomashow MF (2009) Development and use of genetic system to identify genes required for efficient low-temperature growth of Psychrobacter arcticus 273-4. Extremophiles 13:21-30.

Doherty CJ, Van Buskirk HA, Myers S, Thomashow MF (2009) Roles of Arabidopsis CAMTA transcription factors in cold-regulated gene expression and freezing tolerance.  Plant Cell 21: 972-984 (subject of commentary: NA Eckardt, Plant Cell 21:697) Abstract

Hark AT, Vlachonasios KE, Pavangadkar KA, Rao S, Gordon H, Adamakis ID, Kaldis A, Thomashow MF, Triezenberg SJ (2009) Two Arabidopsis orthologs of the transcriptional coactivator ADA2 have distinct biological functions. Biochim Biophys Acta 1789: 117-124.

Mikkelsen MD, Thomashow MF (2009) A role for circadian evening elements in cold-regulated gene expression in Arabidopsis.  Plant J 60: 328-339 Abstract

Zou C, Lehti-Shiu MD, Thomashow M, Shiu SH (2009) Evolution of stress-regulated gene expression in duplicate genes of Arabidopsis thaliana.  PLOS Genet 5: e1000581 Full Text

Pino MT, Skinner JS, Jeknic Z, Hayes PM, Soeldner AH, Thomashow MF, Chen THH (2008) Ectopic AtCBF1 over-expression enhances freezing tolerance and induces cold acclimation-associated physiological modifications in potato. Plant Cell Environ 31: 393-406 Abstract

Ponder MA, Thomashow MF, Tiedje JM (2008) Metabolic activity of Siberian permafrost isolates, Psychrobacter arcticus and Exiguobacterium sibiricum, at low water activities. Extremophiles 12:481-90.

Bakermans C, Tollaksen SL, Giometti CS, Wilkerson C, Tiedje JM, Thomashow MF (2007) Proteomic analysis of Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5 during growth at subzero temperature. Extremophiles 11: 343-354.

Pino MT, Skinner JS, Park EJ, Jeknic Z, Hayes PM, Thomashow MF, Chen THH (2007) Use of a stress inducible promoter to drive ectopic AtCBF expression improves potato freezing tolerance while minimizing negative effects on tuber yield.  Plant Biotech J 5: 591-604 Abstract

Zheng S, Ponder MA, Shih JY, Tideje JM, Thomashow MF, Lubman DM (2007) A proteomic analysis of Psychrobacter articus 273-4 adaptation to low temperature and salinity using a 2D liquid mapping approach. Electrophoresis 28: 467-488.

Bakermans C, Ayala-del-Rio HL, Ponder MA, Vishnivetskaya T, Gilichinsky D, Thomashow MF and Tiedje JM (2006) Psychrobacter cryohalolentis sp. nov. and Psychrobacter arcticus sp. nov., isolated from Siberian Permafrost. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 56: 1285-1291.

Mao Y, Pavangadkar KA, Thomashow MF, Triezenberg SJ (2006) Physical and functional interactions of Arabidopsis ADA2 transcriptional coactivator proteins with the acetyltransferase GCN5 and with the cold-induced transcription factor CBF1. Biochim Biophys Acta-Gene Structure and Exp 1759:69-79.

Rodrigues DF, Goris J, Vishnivetskaya T, Gilichinsky D, Thomashow MF, Tiedje JM (2006) Characterization of Exiguobacterium isolates from the Siberian permafrost. Description of Exiguobacterium sibiricum sp. nov. Extremophiles 10: 285-294.

Skinner JS, Szucs P, von Zitzewitz J, Marquez-Cedillo L, Filichkin T, Stockinger EJ, Thomashow MF, Chen TH, Hayes PM (2006) Mapping of barley homologs to genes that regulate low temperature tolerance in Arabidopsis. Theor Appl Genet 112:832-42.

Van Buskirk HA, Thomashow MF (2006) Arabidopsis transcription factors regulating cold acclimation. Physiol Plant 126: 72-80.

Fowler S, Cook D, Thomashow MF (2005) The CBF cold response pathway. In "Plant Abiotic Stress," M.A. Jenks and P.M. Hasegawa (eds.), Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp. 71-99.

Fowler SG, Cook D, Thomashow MF (2005) Low temperature induction of Arabidopsis CBF1-3 is gated by the circadian clock. Plant Physiol 137: 961-968 Abstract

Ponder MA,  Gilmour SJ,  Bergholz PW,  Mindock CA,  Hollingsworth R,  Thomashow MF, Tiedje JM (2005) Characterization of potential stress responses in ancient Siberian permafrost psychroactive bacteria. FEMS Microb Ecol 53:103-115.

Skinner JS,  von Zitzewitz J, Marquez-Cedillo L,  Filichkin T,  Szcs P,  Amundsen K, Stockinger EJ,  Thomashow MF,   Chen THH, Hayes PM (2005) Barley contains a large CBF gene family associated with quantitative cold tolerance traits. In: T.H.H Chen, M. Uemura, and S. Fujikawa, (eds.), Cold Hardiness in Plants: Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology and Physiology. CAB International, Oxon, UK, pp. 30-52.

Skinner JS, von Zitzewitz J, Szucs P, Marquez-Cedillo L, Filichkin T, Amundsen K, Stockinger EJ, Thomashow MF, Chen TH, Hayes PM (2005) Structural, functional, and phylogenetic characterization of a large CBF gene family in barley. Plant Mol Biol 59:533-51.

Vogel JT,  Cook D,  Fowler SG,  Thomashow MF (2005) The CBF cold response pathways of Arabidopsis and tomato. In: T.H.H Chen, M. Uemura, and S. Fujikawa, (eds.), Cold Hardiness in Plants: Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology and Physiology. CAB International, Oxon, UK, pp. 11-29.

Vogel JT, Zarka DG, Van Buskirk HA, Fowler SG, Thomashow MF (2005) Roles of the CBF2 and ZAT12 transcription factors in configuring the low temperature transcriptome of Arabidopsis.  Plant J 41: 195-211 Abstract

Wang Z, Triezenberg SJ, Thomashow MF, Stockinger EJ (2005) Multiple hydrophobic motifs in Arabidopsis CBF1 COOH-terminus provide functional redundancy in trans-activation. Plant Mol Biol 58:543-59.

Cook D,  Fowler S, Fiehn O and Thomashow MF (2004) A prominent role of the CBF cold response pathway in configuring the low temperature metabolome of Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101: 15243-15248 (subject of commentary: J Browse, BM Lange, PNAS 101:1499-14997).


Affiliations / Memberships / Awards:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Member Editor for Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. 

Websites of Interest:

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Genetics Program

Thomashow Lab





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