Active Oxygen and Freezing Tolerance in Transgenic Plants

  • Bryan D. McKersie
  • Stephen R. Bowley


Winterhardiness is a complex trait involving tolerances to freezing, water deprivation, ice-encasement (severe anoxia), flooding (milder anoxia) and disease. The combination and severity of these stresses that crops must tolerate varies from environment to environment and from year to year. Different crops, even in the same environment, experience different stresses because of their growth habit. For example, a winter annual crop like wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grows close to the ground and is covered by snow, whereas a woody fruit crop grows above the snow and is not insulated against cold air temperatures. In northern climates, management of our major crops is based on the avoidance of winter injury. For example, a summer annual is grown in these areas instead of a winter annual, i. e. spring wheat is grown instead of winter wheat. Also, production practices for perennial forage crops, such as alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), include planting before critical seeding dates, harvesting before critical fall harvest dates, leaving shoot growth to hold snow that will insulate the plants over-winter, and grading to improve surface drainage.


Transgenic Plant Winter Wheat Freezing Tolerance Microsomal Membrane Medicago Sativa 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andrews CJ, Pomeroy MK (1989). Physiological properties of plants affecting ice-encasement tolerance. Icel Agr Sci 2: 41–51.Google Scholar
  2. Baker CJ, Orlandi EW (1995). Active oxygen in plant pathogenesis. Annu Rev Phytopathol 33: 299–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bannister JV, Bannister WH, Rotils G (1987). Aspects of the structure, function and applications of superoxide dismutase. CRC Crit Reviews Biochem 22: 110–180.Google Scholar
  4. Bhaumik G, Srivastava KK, Selvamurthy W, Purkayastha SS (1995). The role of free radicals in cold injuries. Int J Biometeorol 38: 171–175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borochov A, Walker MA, Kendall EJ, Pauls KP, McKersie BD (1987). Effect of a freeze-thaw cycle on properties of microsomal membranes from wheat. Plant Physiol 84: 131–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowler C, Alliotte T, De Loose M, Van Montagu M, Inzé D (1989). The induction of manganese superoxide dismutase in response to stress in Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. EMBO J. 8: 31–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowler C, Van Camp W, Van Montagu, M, Inzé D (1994). Superoxide dismutase in plants. Crit Reviews Plant Sci 13: 199–218.Google Scholar
  8. Bowler, C, Van Montagu M, Inzé D (1992). Superoxide dismutase and stress tolerance. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 43: 83–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowler C, Slooten L, Vandenbranden S, De Rycke R, Botterman J, Sybesma C, Van Montagu M, Inzé D (1991). Manganese superoxide dismutase can reduce cellular damage mediated by oxygen radicals in trans-genic plants. EMBO J 10: 1723–1732.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowley SR, Kielly GA, Anandarajah K, McKersie BD, Senaratna T (1993) Field evaluation following two cycles of backcross transfer of somatic embryogenesis to commercial alfalfa germplasm. Can J Plant Sci 73: 131–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bridger GM, Yang W, Falk DE, McKersie BD (1995). Cold acclimation increases tolerance of activated oxygen in winter cereals. J Plant PhysiolGoogle Scholar
  12. Chia LS, McRae DG, Thompson JE (1982). Light-dependence of paraquat-initiated membrane deterioration in bean plants. Evidence for the involvement of superoxide. Physiol Plant 56: 492–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen Y (1993) Improvement of stress tolerance in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) by genetic engineering. PhD thesis, University of Guelph.Google Scholar
  14. D’ Halluin K, Botterman J, De Greef W (1990). Engineering of herbicide-resistant alfalfa and evaluation under field conditions. Crop Sci 30: 866–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Beus, MD (1991) Evaluation of transgenic alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) for enhanced stress tolerance. MSc thesis, University of Guelph.Google Scholar
  16. Elstner EF (1982). Oxygen activation and oxygen toxicity. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 33: 73–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elstner EF (1991). Mechanisms of oxygen activation in different compartments of plant cells. In Active oxy-gen/oxidative stress and plant metabolism, EJ Pell., KL Steffen eds, American Soc. Plant Physiology, Rockville, M.D., pp. 13–25.Google Scholar
  18. Fowler DB, Lumin AE, Gusta LV (1983). Breeding for winterhardiness in wheat. In New Frontiers in Winter Wheat Production., D. B. Fowler, L. V. Gusta, A. E. Slinkard, B. A. Hobin eds, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada., pp. 136–184.Google Scholar
  19. Foyer CH, Descourvieres P, Kunert KJ (1994). Protection against oxygen radicals: an important defence mechanism studied in transgenic plants. Plant Cell Env 17: 507–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grant MN (1983). Winter wheat breeding objectives for Western Canada. In New Frontiers in Winter Wheat Production., D.B. Fowler, L. V. Gusta, A. E. Slinkard, B. A. Hobin eds. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada., pp. 89–101.Google Scholar
  21. Gutteridge JC, Halliwell B. (1990). The measurement and mechanism of lipid peroxidation in biological systems. Trends Biochem Sci 15: 129–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Halliwell B (1987a). Oxidants and human desease: some new concepts. FASEB J 1: 358.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Halliwell B (1987b). Oxidative damage, lipid peroxidation and anti-oxidant protection in chloroplasts. Chem Phys Lipids 44: 327–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Halliwell B, Gutteridge J (1984). Oxygen toxicity, oxygen radicals, transition metals and disease. Biochem J 219:1–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hetherington PR, Broughton HL, McKersie BD (1988). Ice-encasement injury to microsomal membranes from winter wheat crowns II. Changes in membrane lipids during ice-encasement. Plant Physiol 86: 740–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hetherington PR, McKersie BD, Borochov A (1987). Ice-encasement injury to microsomal membranes from winter wheat crowns I. Comparison of membrane properties after lethal ice-encasement and during a post-thaw period. Plant Physiol 85: 1068–1072.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jiang C, Iu B, Singh J (1996). Requirement of a CCGAC cis-acting element for cold induction of the BN115 gene from winter Brassica napus. Plant Mol Biol 30: 679–684.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kendall EJ, McKersie BD (1989). Free radical and freezing injury to cell membranes of winter wheat. Physiol Plant 76: 86–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kendall EJ, McKersie BD, Stinson RH (1985). Phase properties of membranes after freezing injury in winter wheat. Can J Bot 63: 2274–2277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lawrence K, Bhalla P, Misra PC (1995). NADH-dependent redox activities on the external face of plasma membrane vesicles of chickpea roots. J Plant Physiol 146: 763–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Levine A, Tenhaken R, Dixon R, Lamb C (1994). H2O2 from the oxidative burst orchestrates the plant hypersensitive disease resistance response. Cell 79: 583–593.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Low PS, Merida JR (1996). The oxidative burst in plant defense: Function and signal transduction. Physiol Plant 96:533–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lynch DV, Steponkus PL (1987). Plasma membrane lipid alterations associated with cold acclimation of winter rye seedlings (Secale cereale L. cv Puma) Plant Physiol 83: 761–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marcotte WR Jr., Russell SH, Quatrano RS (1989). Abscisic acid-responsive sequences from the Em gene of wheat. Plant Cell 1:969–976.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. McKenzie JS, Paquin R, Duke SH (1988) Cold and heat tolerance. In Alfalfa and Alfalfa Improvement. AA Hanson, DK Barnes, RR Hill, eds. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI. pp259–302.Google Scholar
  36. McKersie BD, Bowley SR (1993). Synthetic seeds in alfalfa. In Synseeds Applications of Synthetic Seeds to Crop Improvement., K. Redenbaugh ed, CRC Press, Boca Raton., pp. 231–255.Google Scholar
  37. McKersie BD, Chen YR, de Beus M, Bowley SR, Bowler C, Inzé D, D’Halluin K, Botterman J (1993). Super-oxide dismutase enhances tolerance of freezing stress in transgenic alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Plant Physiol 103: 1155–1163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McKersie BD, Bowley SR, Harjanto E, Leprince O (1996). Water deficit tolerance and field performance of transgenic alfalfa overexpressing superoxide dismutase. Plant Physiol 111: 1177–1181.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. McKersie BD, Leshem YY (1994). Stress and stress coping in cultivated plants. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McKersie BD, Thompson JE (1978). Phase behavior of chloroplast and microsomal membranes during [kidney beans] leaf senescence. Plant Physiol 61: 639–643.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Morre DJ, Brightman AO, Hidalgo A, Navas P (1995). Selective inhibition of auxin-stimulated NADH oxidase activity and elongation growth of soybean hypocotyls by thiol reagents. Plant Physiol 107: 1285–1291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Morre DJ, Navas P, Penel C, Castillo FJ (1986). Auxin stimulated NADH oxidase (semihydroascorbate reduc-tase) of soybean plasma membrane: role in acidification of cytoplasm. Protoplasma 133: 195–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Otter T, Polle A (1994). The influence of apoplastic ascorbate on the activities of cell wall-associated peroxidase and NADH oxidase in needles of Norway spruce (Picea abies L). Plant Cell Physiol 35: 1231–1238.Google Scholar
  44. Pukacki PM, Kendall EJ, McKersie BD (1991). Membrane injury during freezing stress to winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crowns. J Plant Physiol 138: 516–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scandalios JG (1990). Response of plant antioxidant defense genes to environmental stress. Adv Genet 28: 1–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Scandalios JG (1993). Oxygen stress and superoxide dismutases. Plant Physiol 101: 7–12.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Senaratna T, McKersie BD, Borochov A (1987). Desiccation and free radical mediated changes in plant membranes. J Exptl Bot 38: 2005–2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Senaratna T, McKersie BD, Stinson RH (1984). Association between membrane phase properties and dehydration injury in soybean axes. Plant Physiol 76: 759–762.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schubert BK (1994) Glutathione, glutathione reductase and freezing stress in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). MSc thesis, University of Guelph.Google Scholar
  50. Uemura M, Steponkus PL (1994). A contrast of the plasma membrane lipid composition of oat and rye leaves in relation to freezing tolerance. Plant Physiol 104: 479–496.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan D. McKersie
    • 1
  • Stephen R. Bowley
    • 1
  1. 1.Crop Science DepartmentUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations