Dehydrins are major plant proteins that increase with cold or drought. Using a previously identified 2.0-Kb blueberry dehydrin cDNA, additional dehydrin clones were isolated and characterized. Experiments were conducted to determine effect of drought and cold treatment on dehydrin gene expression in several blueberry cultivars. Besides previously characterized 65, 60, and 14 kDa dehydrins in floral buds additional less abundant dehydrins were observed in stem and root tissues. The same major dehydrins were induced by both drought and cold stress but at different levels. Dehydrin expression was positively correlated with cold and drought tolerance. In addition, photoperiod was observed to affect dehydrin expression. Dehydrins were induced to higher level in cold treated plants kept in total dark than in plants kept at a short photoperiod of 10 hours of light/14 hours dark.
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