I, personally, call melatonin magic sleepy pills because without them Boo has a really hard time sleeping. His pediatrician recommended it and BOY what a difference! Take the dose, hour later he is calm and yawning and ready to sleep. Then I get my night to do whatever I want! Which with quals had meant studying. But now that quals are over it means..... more studying. Just instead of textbooks, I am reading journal articles.
I was doing a Google Scholar search for articles in 2014 on cold stress and I came across this gem:
Role of melatonin in alleviating cold stress in Arabidopsis thaliana by Bajwa, et al. in Journal of Pineal Research. Needless to say I was intrigued.
The abstract claims that melatonin up-regulated several genes involved in abiotic stresses: CBF, a cold-induced transcription factor which activates cold responsive genes, COR15a, a cold regulated gene, CAMATA1, a calcium responsive abiotic stress gene, and ZAT10/ZAT12, antioxidant genes. The abstract did its job, made me read the rest of the paper. Of course, I am thinking oo if this is true I wonder if adding some melatonin to my soybeans would increase cold response.
They grew Arabidopsis thaliana on Petri plates or liquid media with different concentrations of melatonin. The seedlings were then put in the cold for 3 or 5 days and then allowed to recover for 2 days. Those treated with melatonin grew better after cold, based on the longer roots, shoots and more mass, which is why they said that melatonin alleviates cold stress. They did measure the genes listed above via RT-PCR and at some point, under at least one of the melatonin concentrations, the gene production was increased versus the control.
The most interesting part, in my opinion, is that melatonin, the stuff that helps us sleep, could help plants regulate their stress response. I find that idea fascinating and I want to do a bit more research on it!