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Plant Mol Biol. 1999 Jan;39(1):21-34.

Coordinate and non-coordinate expression of the stress 70 family and other molecular chaperones at high and low temperature in spinach and tomato.

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Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0670, USA.


Stress 70 molecular chaperones are found in all the major subcellular compartments of plant cells, and they are encoded by a multigene family. Twelve members of this family have been identified in spinach. The expression of the stress 70 molecular chaperones in response to heat shock is well-known and it appears that low temperature exposure can also stimulate their expression. However, it has been difficult to determine which member(s) of the family are specifically responsive to low temperature. This study was initiated to determine the levels of expression of the stress 70 family members and other selected chaperones in response to high and low temperature exposure. During heat shock of spinach, of the 10 stress 70 family members that were examined, all 10 showed increased RNA levels after one hour, and all showed down-regulation at longer durations of high temperature exposure. However, the response to low temperature was quite variable and complex. Some members were induced, some were transiently up-regulated, while others showed sustained up-regulation at a low non-freezing temperature. In comparison, the entirety of the molecular chaperone expression response of cold-sensitive tomato at the same low non-freezing temperature was even more dramatic with 11 of 15 molecular chaperones tested exhibiting elevated expression. The increased chaperone expression is consistent with the hypothesis that the biogenesis or stability of some proteins is compromised at low non-freezing temperatures. In contrast, mild freezing sufficient to cause injury of spinach did not materially activate chaperone expression.

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