, Volume 228, Issue 3, pp 459-472
Date: 21 May 2008

Dehydrins expression related to timing of bud burst in Norway spruce

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Cold deacclimation and preparation to flushing likely requires rehydration of meristems. Therefore, water stress related genes, such as dehydrins (DHN), might play an important role in providing protection during winter dormancy, deacclimation and bud burst timing processes. Here we report the sequence analysis of several Norway spruce DHN identified in late and early flushing suppressive subtraction hybridization cDNA libraries and in our Norway spruce EST database. We obtained 15 cDNAs, representing eight genes from three distinct types of DHN, and studied differential expression of these genes before and during bud burst in spring, using qRT-PCR. We found the visible reduction in transcript level of most DHN towards the bud burst, supported by a significant down-regulation of the DHN in needles during experimental induction of bud burst applied at three time points during autumn in Norway spruce grafts. For most of the DHN transcripts, their expression levels in late-flushing spruces were significantly higher than in the early flushing ones at the same calendar dates but were remarkably similar at the same bud developmental stage. From our results we may conclude that the difference between the early and the late families is in timing of the molecular processes leading to bud burst due to differences in their response to the increasing temperature in the spring. They are induced much earlier in the early flushing families.