Low temperatures in the autumn induce enhanced expression/relative accumulation of several cold-inducible transcripts/proteins with protective functions from Late-embryogenesis-abundant (LEA) superfamily including dehydrins. Several studies dealing with plants grown under controlled conditions revealed a correlation (significant quantitative relationship) between dehydrin transcript/protein relative accumulation and plant frost tolerance. However, to apply these results in breeding, field experiments are necessary. The aim of the review is to provide a summary of the studies dealing with the relationships between plant acquired frost tolerance and COR/LEA transcripts/proteins relative accumulation in cereals grown in controlled and field conditions. The impacts of cold acclimation and vernalisation processes on the ability of winter-type Triticeae to accumulate COR/LEA proteins are discussed. The factors determining dehydrin relative accumulation under controlled cold acclimation treatments versus field trials during winter seasons are discussed. In conclusion, it can be stated that dehydrins could be used as suitable indicators of winter survival in field-grown winter cereals but only in plant prior to the fulfilment of vernalisation requirement.
Keywords: COR14b; cold acclimation; dehydrins; field trials; frost tolerance; growth chambers; vernalisation.