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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2010 Apr;48(4):256-64. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2009.12.005. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Differential expression of heat shock protein genes in preconditioning for photosynthetic acclimation in water-stressed loblolly pine.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are induced not only under heat stress conditions but also under other environmental stresses such as water stress. In plants, HSPs families are larger than those of other eukaryotes. In order to elucidate a possible connection between HSP expression and photosynthetic acclimation or conditioning, we conducted a water stress experiment in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings involving progressive treatment consisting of one cycle of mild stress (-1 MPa) followed by two cycles of severe stress (-1.7 MPa). Net photosynthesis was measured at each stress level. Photosynthetic acclimation occurred in the progressive treatment after the first cycle, but not in the severe treatment, suggesting that a cycle of mild stress conditioned the trees to adapt to a more severe stress. Real time results indicated specific patterns in needles in the expression of HSP70, HSP90 and sHSP genes for each treatment, both at maximum stress and at recovery. We identified a pine homolog to GRP94 (ER resident HSP90) that was induced after rehydration coincident with acclimation. Further analysis of the promoter region of the pine GRP94 showed putative cis-elements associated with water stress and rehydration, corresponding to the expression pattern observed in our experiment.

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