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Keywords:

  • Cold acclimation;
  • dehydrins;
  • endoplasmic reticulum binding protein;
  • heat-shock proteins;
  • HSC70;
  • HSP70;
  • stress proteins;
  • woody plants

Although considerable effort has been directed at identifying and understanding the function and regulation of stress-induced proteins in herbaceous plants, reports concerning woody plants are limited. Studies with herbaceous crops have revealed similarities in the types of proteins that accumulate in response to a wide array of abiotic stresses and hormonal cues such as the accumulation of abscisic acid. Many of the identified proteins appear to be related to dehydrins (the D-11 subgroup of late-embryogenesis-abundant proteins). The objective of the present study was to determine if seasonal induction of dehydrins is a common feature in woody plants and to see if seasonal patterns existed for other stress-induced proteins. Bark tissues from eight species of woody plants were collected monthly for a period of 1.5 years. The species included: peach (Prunus persica) cv. Loring; apple (Malus domestica) cv. Golden Delicious; thornless blackberry (Rubus sp.) cv. Chester; hybrid poplar (Populus nigra); weeping willow (Salix babylonica); flowering dogwood (Cornus florida); sassafras (Sassafras albidum); and black locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia). Immunoblots of bark proteins were probed with a polyclonal antibody recognizing a conserved region of dehydrin proteins, and monoclonal antibodies directed against members of the HS70 family of heat-shock proteins. Some proteins, immunologically related to dehydrins, appeared to be constitutive; however, distinct seasonal patterns associated with winter acclimation were also observed in all species. The molecular masses of these proteins varied widely, although similarities were observed in related species (willow and poplar). Identification of proteins using the monoclonal antibodies (HSP70, HSC70, BiP) was more definitive because of their inherent specificity, but seasonal patterns were more variable among the eight species examined. This study represents only a precursory examination of several proteins reported to be stress related in herbaceous plants, but the results indicate that these proteins are also common to woody plants and that further research to characterize their regulation and function in relation to stress adaptation and the perennial life cycle of woody plants is warranted.