Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 554–559

The regulatory role of vernalization in the expression of low-temperature-induced genes in wheat and rye

  • D. B. Fowler
  • L. P. Chauvin
  • A. E. Limin
  • F. Sarhan
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00417947

Cite this article as:
Fowler, D.B., Chauvin, L.P., Limin, A.E. et al. Theoret. Appl. Genetics (1996) 93: 554. doi:10.1007/BF00417947

Abstract

Low temperature is one of the primary stresses limiting the growth and productivity of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and rye (Secale cereale L.). Winter cereals low-temperature-acclimate when exposed to temperatures colder than 10°C. However, they gradually lose their ability to tolerate below-freezing temperatures when they are maintained for long periods of time in the optimum range for low-temperature acclimation. The overwinter decline in low-temperature response has been attributed to an inability of cereals to maintain low-temperature-tolerance genes in an up-regulated state once vernalization saturation has been achieved. In the present study, the low-temperature-induced Wcs120 gene family was used to investigate the relationship between low-temperature gene expression and vernalization response at the molecular level in wheat and rye. The level and duration of gene expression determined the degree of low-temperature tolerance, and the vernalization genes were identified as the key factor responsible for the duration of expression of low-temperature-induced genes. Spring-habit cultivars that did not have a vernalization response were unable to maintain low-temperature-induced genes in an up-regulated condition when exposed to 4°C. Consequently, they were unable to achieve the same levels of low-temperature tolerance as winter-habit cultivars. A close association between the point of vernalization saturation and the start of a decline in the Wcs120 gene-family mRNA level and protein accumulation in plants maintained at 4°C indicated that vernalization genes have a regulatory influence over low-temperature gene expression in winter cereals.

Key words

Low-temperature tolerance Vernalization Wcs120 gene family Gene regulation Gene expression 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. B. Fowler
    • 1
  • L. P. Chauvin
    • 2
  • A. E. Limin
    • 1
  • F. Sarhan
    • 2
  1. 1.Crop Development Centre, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Départment des Sciences biologiquesUniversité du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Suce. “A”MontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations