The dynamics of a long-term cold acclimation (CA) was studied in spring barley cultivar Atlas 68, winter barley cultivar Igri and a set of doubled haploid (DH) lines derived from an Atlas 68xIgri cross. The aim was to evaluate the effect of plant development on the ability to induce frost tolerance (FT) and to accumulate dehydrin 5 (DHN5) during CA. The plant developmental stage was evaluated by phenological development of the shoot apex and by determination of days to heading after a certain period of CA. FT was determined by direct frost tests. Plant winter survival was also determined. DHN5 was evaluated by densitometric analysis of protein gel blots. Cold led to the induction of increased FT and to the accumulation of DHN5 in both spring and winter lines. However, with the progression of CA, differences between the growth habits occurred as the winter lines were able to maintain increased FT and DHN5 levels for a significantly longer period of time than the spring lines. After vegetative/reproductive transition, a significant decrease in DHN5 accumulation was found in all lines; however, a discrepancy between the acquired FT level and DHN5 accumulation in vernalized winter barley plants was found. A correlation between DHN5 accumulation and plant winter survival was found when the studied lines were differentiated according to their developmental stage and DHN5 level. Possible explanations for these phenomena are provided.
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