The synthesis of a particular class of proteins, the dehydrins, is a common response to drought in plants. Dehydrins are known to be synthesized by the cell in response to abscisic acid, which represents a link between environment and nuclear activity, though dehydrin genes may be expressed even constitutively. We have investigated the relationship between abscisic acid (ABA) and accumulation of a dehydrin mRNA in sunflower, in which a dehydrin cDNA (HaDhn1a) was isolated. In particular, we studied changes in the steady-state level of dehydrin transcripts in two mutants for ABA synthesis and accumulation: nd-1 (an albino, non-dormant and lethal mutant with a very low ABA content and no ABA accumulation in response to stress) and w-1 (a wilty mutant, with reduced ABA accumulation) during embryo and plantlet development and drought stress. Differences between genotypes were observed through embryogenesis: w-1 shows a lower content of dehydrin transcripts in the early stages compared to control plants, indicating that ABA affects dehydrin mRNA accumulation; however, dehydrin transcripts level appears independent of ABA content in late embryogenesis. Also during drought stress in w-1 adult leaves, ABA is not quantitatively related to the steady-state level of the HaDhn1a transcripts. Finally, data on nd-1 mutant show a high level of dehydrin transcripts after drought stress in plantlet cotyledons and leaflets. These results indicate the existence of two regulation pathways of HaDhn1a transcripts accumulation, an ABA-dependent and an ABA-independent one, which may have cumulative effects.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2004
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