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Accumulation of acidic SK₃ dehydrins in phloem cells of cold- and drought-stressed plants of the Solanaceae

Szabala, Bartosz Mieczyslaw, Fudali, Sylwia, Rorat, Tadeusz
Planta 2014 v.239 no.4 pp. 847-863
Capsicum annuum, Solanum chilense, Solanum sogarandinum, adverse effects, cell fractionation, gene expression, roots, sieve elements, stems, stress tolerance, vegetative cells, water stress
The role of acidic SKₙ dehydrins in stress tolerance of important crop and model species of the Solanaceae remains unknown. We have previously shown that the acidic SK₃ dehydrin DHN24 from Solanum sogarandinum is constitutively expressed and its expression is associated with cold acclimation. Here we found that DHN24 is specifically localized to phloem cells of vegetative organs of non-acclimated plants. More precise localization of DHN24 revealed that it is primarily found in sieve elements (SEs) and companion cells (CCs) of roots and stems. In cold-acclimated plants, DHN24 is mainly present in all cell types of the phloem. Dhn24 transcripts are also predominantly localized to phloem cells of cold-acclimated stems. Immunoelectron microscopy localized DHN24 to the cytosol and close to organelle membranes of phloem cells, the lumen with phloem protein filaments, parietal cytoplasm of SEs and the nucleoplasm of some nuclei. Cell fractionation experiments revealed that DHN24 was detected in the cytosolic, nuclear and microsomal fractions. We also determined whether homologous members of the acidic subclass dehydrins from Capsicum annuum and Lycopersicon chilense share the characteristics of DHN24. We showed that they are also constitutively expressed, but their protein level is upregulated preferentially by drought stress. Immunofluorescent localization revealed that they are detected in SEs and CCs of unstressed plants and throughout the phloem in drought-stressed plants. These results suggest that one of the primary roles of DHN24 and its homologs may be the protection of the phloem region from adverse effects of abiotic stresses.