Journal Article

Changes in ABA and gene expression in cold-acclimated sugar maple

Annick Bertrand, Gilles Robitaille, Yves Castonguay, Paul Nadeau and Robert Boutin

in Tree Physiology

Volume 17, issue 1, pages 31-37
Published in print January 1997 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online January 1997 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/17.1.31
Changes in ABA and gene expression in cold-acclimated sugar maple

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To determine if cold acclimation of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) is associated with specific changes in gene expression under natural hardening conditions, we compared bud and root translatable mRNAs of potted maple seedlings after cold acclimation under natural conditions and following spring dehardening. Cold-hardened roots and buds were sampled in January when tissues reached their maximum hardiness. Freezing tolerance, expressed as the lethal temperature for 50% of the tissues (LT50), was estimated at –17 °C for roots, and at lower than –36 °C for buds. Approximately ten transcripts were specifically synthesized in cold-acclimated buds, or were more abundant in cold-acclimated buds than in unhardened buds. Cold hardening was also associated with changes in translation. At least five translation products were more abundant in cold-acclimated buds and roots compared with unhardened tissues. Abscisic acid (ABA) concentration increased approximately tenfold in the xylem sap following winter acclimation, and the maximum concentration was reached just before maximal acclimation. We discuss the potential involvement of ABA in the observed modification of gene expression during cold hardening.

Keywords: Acer saccharum; cold hardening; freezing tolerance; in vitro translation

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Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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