Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Plant Physiol. (1991) 96, pp. 686-692.


Copyright American Society of Plant Biologists. Used by permission.


Bark storage proteins (BSPs) accumulate in the inner bark parenchyma of many woody plants during autumn and winter. We investigated the effect of a short-day (SD) photoperiod on the accumulation of the 32-kilodalton bark storage protein of poplar (Populus deltoides Bart. ex Marsh.) under controlled environmental and natural growing conditions. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and protein gel blot analysis revealed that 10 days of SD exposure (8 hours of light) resulted in a 20% increase in the relative abundance of the 32-kilodalton bark storage protein of poplar. After 17 days of SD exposure, the 32-kilodalton bark storage protein accounted for nearly one-half of the soluble bark proteins. In natural field conditions, accumulation of the 32-kilodalton bark storage protein was observed to start by August 18 (daylength 14.1 hours). Immunoprecipitation of in vitro translation products with anti-BSP serum revealed that the SD protein accumulation was correlated with changes in the pool of translatable mRNA. A survey of poplar clones from different geographic origins revealed the presence of the 32-kilodalton BSP in the dormant bark of all the clones tested. These results demonstrate that a SD photoperiod induces, whether directly or indirectly, rapid changes in woody plant gene expression, leading to the accumulation of BSP.