Seasonal Alteration of the Cytosolic and Nuclear Ca2+ Concentrations in Overwintering Woody and Herbaceous Perennials in Relation to the Development of Dormancy and Cold Hardiness

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Seasonal alteration of the cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations of spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry) and brome grass (Bromus inermis Leyss) was investigated by the antimonate precipitation cytochemical technique. Electron microscopic (EM) observations revealed that electron-dense Ca2+ antimonate deposits, an indication of Ca2+ localization, were seen mainly in the vacuole, the cell wall and the intercellular space in samples of both species, collected on 14 July 1997. Few deposits were found in the cytosol and nuclei, showing a low resting level during summer months. On 8 Aug. 1997 following a decrease in daylength of 1 hour and 12 minutes, Ca2+ accumulation was initiated in spruce with increased cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits, but not in brome grass. On 8 Sept. 1997, Ca2+ accumulation occurred in the cytosol of brome grass. This followed a drop in ambient temperature to 12 °C. Cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits continued to increase in spruce. Controlled experiments confirmed that it was the low temperature, not shortening daylength, that triggered Ca2+ accumulation in brome grass. High cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations lasted about three months in spruce from early August to early November. However, the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations in brome grass lasted only about 20 days from early September to the end of the month. During winter and spring, both species had low resting cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations. The relationship between the duration of the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations and the status of the developed dormancy/cold hardiness is discussed in light of current findings.

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