Research Articles

Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 255-265

First online:

A leaf-specific gene stimulated by light during wheat acclimation to low temperature

  • Louis -Pierre ChauvinAffiliated withDépartement des Sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • , Mario HoudeAffiliated withDépartement des Sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • , Fathey Sarhan

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Abstract

We report here the identification and characterization of a new leaf-specific light-stimulated gene induced during cold acclimation of wheat. Sequence analysis revealed that the gene encodes a protein of 19 kDa with a pI of 8.8. This is a novel protein with a particular charge distribution. The C-terminal half has a high propensity to form an α-helix and contains all the acidic amino acids with a net negative charge of -7. On the other hand, the N-terminal half is rich in proline, lysine and arginine with a net positive charge of +10. These properties are commonly found in several transcription factors. The protein is also rich in alanine (21%), is hydrophilic but not boiling soluble in contrast to other alanine-rich proteins. During low temperature exposure, the corresponding mRNA accumulates rapidly in the leaf and remains at a constant level in two tolerant cultivars used. However, is a less tolerant cultivar, the mRNA level declines despite maintaining the plants at 4°C. Southern blot analysis indicates that the differential expression in the less tolerant genotype is not due to a different genomic organization or gene copy number. The mRNA was specifically localized in leaf tissues and increased several-fold during the greening at 4°C. Furthermore, this gene is not induced in callus cultures acclimated in the absence or presence of light. This suggests that the full expression of this gene is dependent on organized leaf tissue. The expression of this gene was not affected by ABA, drought, heat shock, salinity, wounding or anaerobiosis, demonstrating that it is specifically induced by low temperature. The Wcs19 mRNA is preferentially expressed in tolerant Gramineae species.

Key words

cDNA cold acclimation freezing tolerance Gramineae leaf light