Characterization of a midwinter-expressed dehydrin (DHN) gene from apple trees (Malus domestica)

Monica L. Garcia-Bañuelos, Alfonso A. Gardea, Joy J. Winzerling, Luz Vazquez-Moreno

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23 Scopus citations


To gain a better understanding of the proteins associated with cold acclimation and winter dormancy in apple trees (Malus domestica), we studied the expression of a dehydrin gene encoding one of the important proteins involved in these processes. A novel gene, designated mddhn, was obtained from M. domestica cv. "Golden Delicious". The full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) consists of 993 nucleotides with an open reading frame of 687 bp. The deduced amino acid sequence of 229 residues shows similarity to members of the dehydrin (DHN) family. The putative DHN presents a structure typical of DHN proteins that are composed of two consensus Y-segments, a stretch of serine residues, and four lysine-rich repeats (Y2SK4). This apple DHN shows the greatest similarity to members of both the YnKn and YnSKn classes of DHNs from peach and almond: 57% to peach (Y2SK3) and almond (Y2SK3 and Y2K4) and a lower percentage (35%) to peach (Y2K9). When we analyzed the available expressed sequence tag databases for additional apple DHNs, we identified a DHN of the class Y2SK4 with a deduced amino acid sequence with 79-98% identity among the cultivars "Royal Gala", "Goldrush", and the M9 rootstock that showed high identity to our DHN from "Golden Delicious" (92-98%). The transcripts of mddhn are highly expressed in bark and bud tissues when the plant is dormant and cold hardy in midwinter, but are not expressed in early spring when cold hardiness is lost and the buds are growing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-487
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Molecular Biology Reporter
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Cold hardiness
  • Dormancy
  • Freezing tolerance
  • Malus domestica
  • Mddhn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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