A cold acclimatization mechanism regulated by the accumulation of mRNAs and proteins has been tentatively identified in japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis Sieb. & Zucc.). Two polypeptides and several cDNA fragments were observed in leaf tissue after acclimation. When these proteins were probed with type III fish antifreeze antibodies, an immune-cross reaction occurred. Nonacclimatized young leaves and stems of japanese spurge survived 20-minute exposures at -5 °C. Although newly emerged leaves and stems were damaged, plants resumed growth at higher temperatures. After acclimation by gradual cold treatments (4 to -5 °C), new proteins began to accumulate in young leaves and plants were more tolerant to extended treatments at -5 °C. Changes in accumulation of proteins and mRNA in leaf tissue of japanese spurge appear to be an adaptation mechanism to subfreezing conditions. This is the first report of the immune-cross reaction between antibodies of type III fish antifreeze proteins and plant proteins
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