The same protein that keeps plants from blooming in winter also helps them survive during floods. In a recent article in Nature Communications, plant ecophysiologists at the universities of Utrecht, Birmingham, and Nottingham wrote about how the vernalisation protein VRN2 accumulates in plants both under low temperature conditions and as a result of a lack of oxygen during floods.
The plants’ ‘memory’ enables them to adapt their growth to changing environments or seasonal differences. Many perennial plants, for example, register the long period of colder weather during winter, and delay blooming until spring based on that observation. Scientists have known for some time that protein Vernalization2 (VRN2) exerts some influence on that process. Vernalisation is the biological term for how cold temperatures influence growth processes.