DEAD-box RNA helicases belong to an RNA helicase family that plays specific roles in various RNA metabolism processes, including ribosome biogenesis, mRNA splicing, RNA export, mRNA translation and RNA decay. This study investigated a DEAD-box RNA helicase, AtRH7/PRH75, in Arabidopsis. Expression of AtRH7/PRH75 was ubiquitous; however, the levels of mRNA accumulation were increased in cell division regions and were induced by cold stress. The phenotypes of two allelic AtRH7/PRH75-knockout mutants, atrh7-2 and atrh7-3, resembled auxin-related developmental defects that were exhibited in several ribosomal protein mutants, and were more severe under cold stress. Northern blot and circular reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analyses indicated that unprocessed 18S pre-rRNAs accumulated in the atrh7 mutants. The atrh7 mutants were hyposensitive to the antibiotic streptomycin, which targets ribosomal small subunits, suggesting that AtRH7 was also involved in ribosome assembly. In addition, the atrh7-2 and atrh7-3 mutants displayed cold hypersensitivity and decreased expression of CBF1, CBF2 and CBF3, which might be responsible for the cold intolerance. The present study indicated that AtRH7 participates in rRNA biogenesis and is also involved in plant development and cold tolerance in Arabidopsis.