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Plant J. 1999 Oct;20(1):89-99.

Modified expression of a carrot small heat shock protein gene, hsp17. 7, results in increased or decreased thermotolerancedouble dagger


We have determined that one small heat shock protein gene, encoding Hsp17.7, plays an important role in the ability of carrot cells and plants to survive thermal stress. Transgenic cells and regenerated plants were generated in which the carrot Hsp17.7 gene was either constitutively expressed (denoted CaS lines) or expressed as a heat inducible antisense RNA (denoted AH lines). Thermotolerance measurements demonstrated that CaS lines were more thermotolerant than vector controls and AH antisense lines were less thermo- tolerant than vector controls. RNA analysis demonstrated that Hsp17. 7 mRNA was detectable, but not abundant, prior to heat shock in CaS cells, but not in vector control cells. Conversely, RNA analysis of antisense cells showed that, after heat shock, the amounts of mRNA for Hsp17.7 was moderately less abundant in AH cells than in vector controls. Analysis of protein synthesis in CaS cells did not indicate substantial synthesis or accumulation of Hsp17.7, or any small Hsp, at 23 degrees C. However, in the most thermotolerant line, protein synthesis was maintained at a higher rate than in other cell lines at a more extreme heat shock (42 degrees C). In contrast, antisense AH cells showed reduced synthesis of many Hsp, large and small. These results suggest that the Hsp17.7 gene plays a critical, although as yet not understood, role in thermotolerance in carrot. This represents the first demonstration of the ability to both increase and decrease thermotolerance by the manipulation of expression of a single gene.

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