[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Living organisms are capable of discriminating thermal stimuli from noxious cold to noxious heat. For more than 30 years, it has been known that plant cells respond to cold with a large and transient depolarization. Recently, using transgenic Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) expressing the calcium-sensitive protein aequorin, an increase in cytosolic calcium following cold treatment was observed. Applying the patch-clamp technique to Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplasts, we could identify a transient plasma membrane conductance induced by rapid cooling. This cold-induced transient conductance was characterized as an outward rectifying 33 pS nonselective cation channel. The permeability ratio between calcium and cesium was 0.7, pointing to a permeation pore >3.34 A (ø of cesium). Our experiments thus provide direct evidence for the predicted but not yet measured cold-activated calcium-permeable channel in plants.