DEGRADATION OF A BARK STORAGE PROTEIN IN POPLAR.

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, 2042 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-2911

A 32kDa bark storage protein (BSP) which accumulates in the fall and is degraded in the spring has been identified in Populus deltoides bark. The BSP gene has been shown to be regulated by short day (SD) photoperiod (8 h). The physiological condition of the plant and the environmental factors necessary for the degradation and retranslocation of BSP are of considerable interest for determining the role of this protein in the remobilization of nitrogen in trees.

Poplar plants were placed in a SD growth chamber for 4 or 7 weeks to induce growth cessation (bud set) or dormancy, respectively. BSP accumulated to high levels in bark tissues after 3 weeks SD and remained high through 7 weeks SD. Plants in which growth had stopped (4 weeks SD), or in which dormancy (7 weeks SD) was broken with hydrogen cyanamide (0.5 M) or chilling (4 weeks 0C) broke bud within 1 week of being placed into long day (LD) conditions. Dormant plants which were not chilled broke bud after 3 weeks LD. BSP levels decreased around the time of budbreak, suggesting that the degradation of BSP is dependent on the need for a nitrogen sink, ie. budbreak and new shoot growth.