Contribution of vegetative storage proteins to seasonal nitrogen variations in the young shoots of peach trees (Prunus persica L. Batsch)

J Exp Bot. 2002 Dec;53(379):2431-9. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erf098.


Qualitative and quantitative variations in the level of two low molecular weight vegetative storage proteins (VSP 19 kDa and 16.5 kDa) in peach shoots were compared with annual variations in total nitrogen and total soluble proteins. Protein patterns were obtained by SDS-PAGE and silver staining on each of the 12 kinetic samples collected between October 1995 and November 1996. VSP 16.5 kDa and 19 kDa exhibited typical annual VSP variations in both parenchyma and phloem. In wood, VSP 16.5 kDa was only present in November. All N compounds tested were stored in the autumn and their levels fell in the spring. Parenchyma was the principal stem storage tissue for all N compounds tested, even if proteins were more often highly concentrated in phloem and even if wood was the major shoot constituent. In winter, the two VSP accounted for 13% of bark proteins and 11% of wood proteins. Their storage yield, given by the winter/summer (W/S) ratio was higher (18.5) than that of total proteins (4). Between August to March, i.e. during the storage phase, N fractions obtained from VSP (N3) and total soluble proteins minus VSP (N2) accounted, respectively, for only 3% and 21% of total N accumulation in the bark, the remainder being due to the fraction not extracted (N1). A marked drop in all N compound levels characterized the mobilization phase (March to April), particularly for N3 (-84% between March and April) which were mobilized slightly before other N compounds. Although N3 exhibited the best mobilization yield, it represented only 5% of the total N mobilized. So, in spite of a similarity between VSP and N annual variation patterns, there was no tight correlation between their contents in bark. N2 supplied a high proportion of the N used for spring regrowth (40%), but the larger share (55%) came from N1 which was probably made up of free amino acids. Very tight positive correlations have been observed between these two N fractions and the N status. The lower bark total N content measured in August (6.4 mg N g(-1 )DW) during the assimilation phase (April to August) was equal to the unavailable N fraction, and the bark N mobilization potential (between March and August) was estimated at 6.35 mg N g(-1) DW. VSP did not quantitatively represent the main stored N pool. But, because of their high W/S ratio and their early remobilization, they seemed to play an important role in spring regrowth initiation.

MeSH terms

  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Kinetics
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism*
  • Prunus / growth & development
  • Prunus / metabolism*
  • Seasons*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Nitrogen