Common wheat is an allohexaploid species originating from a naturally occurring inter-specific cross between tetraploid wheat and the diploid wild wheat Aegilops tauschii Coss. Artificial allopolyploidization can produce synthetic hexaploid wheat. However, synthetic triploid hybrids show four types of hybrid growth abnormalities: type II and III hybrid necrosis, hybrid chlorosis, and severe growth abortion. Of these hybrid abnormalities, type II necrosis is induced by low temperature. Under low temperature, elongation of stems and expansion of new leaves is repressed in type II necrosis lines, which later exhibit necrotic symptoms. Here, we characterize type II necrosis in detail. Comparative transcriptome analysis showed that a number of defense-related genes were highly up-regulated in seedling leaves that showed type II necrosis. Transmission electron microscopy revealed extensive cell death in the leaves under low-temperature conditions, accompanied by abundant generation of reactive oxygen species. In addition, down-regulation of cell cycle-related genes was observed in shoot apices of type II necrosis lines under low-temperature conditions. Quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization showed repression of accumulation of histone H4 transcripts in the shoot apical meristem of type II necrosis lines. These results strongly suggest that an autoimmune response-like reaction and repression of cell division in the shoot apical meristem are associated with the abnormal growth phenotype in type II necrosis lines.