Deschampsia antarctica Desv. is one of two vascular plants from the Maritime Antarctic. It is usually exposed to cold, salt, and desiccating winds. We hypothesize that D. antarctica has genes that encode dehydrin proteins and their expression is regulated by low temperature, salt or osmotic stress. To test this hypothesis a fragment of a dehydrin gene from D. antarctica was identified and used as a probe to study dehydrin expression under low temperature, salt, and osmotic stress, and exogenous ABA (abscisic acid) treatments. An anti-dehydrin antibody was also used to study dehydrin protein accumulation under the same treatments. Southern analysis of genomic DNA treated with different endonucleases showed more than four bands recognized by the probe, suggesting that D. antarctica has several dehydrin genes. Northern analysis showed two putative dehydrin transcripts of 1.0 kb accumulated only under exogenous ABA and 1.6 kb under osmotic and salt treatments, suggesting that D. antarctica would have ABA-dependent and - independent pathways for regulation of dehydrin expression. Western analysis showed seven dehydrin proteins (58, 57, 55, 53, 48, 30 and 27 kDa) under the different stress treatments. Cold-accumulated dehydrin proteins were immunolocalized, showing that they are associated with vascular and epidermal tissue, which are preferential ice nucleation zones.