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Vernalization and photoperiod (PP) responses are developmental mechanisms that allow plants to synchronize their growth and reproductive cycles with the seasonal weather changes. Vernalization requirement has been shown to influence the length of time that low-temperature (LT)-induced genes are up-regulated when cereal species are exposed to acclimating temperatures. The objective of the present study was to determine whether expression of LT-induced Wcs and Wcor gene families is also developmentally regulated by PP response. The LT-tolerant, highly short-day (SD)-sensitive barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv Dicktoo) was subjected to 8-h SD and 20-h long-day PPs at cold-acclimating temperatures over a period of 70 d. A delay in transition from the vegetative to the reproductive stage under SD resulted in an increased level and longer retention of LT tolerance. Similar WCS and WCOR protein homologs were expressed, but levels of expression were much higher in plants acclimated under SD, indicating that the poor LT tolerance of long-day plants was the result of an inability to maintain LT-induced genes in an up-regulated state. These observations indicate that the PP and vernalization genes influence the expression of LT-induced genes in cereals through separate pathways that eventually converge to activate genes controlling plant development. In both instances, the delay in the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive stage produces increased LT tolerance that is sustained for a longer period of time, indicating that the developmental genes determine the duration of expression of LT-induced structural genes.


D B Fowler, G Breton, A E Limin, S Mahfoozi, F Sarhan. Photoperiod and temperature interactions regulate low-temperature-induced gene expression in barley. Plant physiology. 2001 Dec;127(4):1676-81

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PMID: 11743112

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