, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 663-674

Developmental and organ-specific expression of an ABA- and stress-induced protein in barley

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An mRNA species, HVA1, has been shown to be rapidly induced by abscisic acid (ABA) in barley aleurone layers (Hong, Uknes and Ho, Plant Mol Biol 11: 495–506, 1988). In the current work we have investigated the expression of HVA1 in other organs of barley plants. In developing seeds, HVA1 mRNA is not detected in starchy endosperm cells, yet it accumulates in aleurone layers and embryo starting 25 days after anthesis, and its level remains high in these organs in dry seeds. Although the levels of HVA1 mRNA are equivalent in the dry embryos of dormant and nondormant barley seeds, upon imbibition HVA1 mRNA declines much slower in the dormant than in the nondormant embryos. The HVA1 mRNA and protein levels are highly induced by ABA treatment in all organs of 3-day-old seedlings. However, the induction in the leaf of 7-day-old seedlings is less than one tenth the level observed in the leaf of 3-day-old seedlings. In the leaf, HVA1 mRNA and protein are induced mainly at the base. These observations indicate that the expression of HVA1 is under developmental regulation. Besides the HVA1 protein, a smaller protein (p20) of approximately 20 kDa cross-reacting with anti-HVA1 polyclonal antibodies, is induced by ABA in barley seedlings but not in seeds. HVA1 mRNA is induced by drought, NaCl, cold or heat treatment. Similar to ABA treatment, the drought induction of HVA1 occurs in all the tissues of 3-day-old seedling, but the induction decreases dramatically in the leaf of 7-day-old plants. The significance of organ-specific, developmentally regulated, and stress-induced expression of HVA1 is discussed.