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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 4;283(14):9269-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709187200. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

The transcriptional co-activator MBF1c is a key regulator of thermotolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA.


The ability of an organism to acclimate to its environment is a key determinant in its global distribution and capacity to compete with other organisms. The heat stress response, a highly conserved environmental and developmental program in eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, is an important component of the acclimation response of plants. Previous studies have shown that heat shock transcription factors play an important role in thermotolerance in plants and other organisms, controlling the expression of different heat shock proteins and detoxifying enzymes. In contrast, although several other pathways, involving ethylene, salicylic acid (SA), and trehalose, were recently shown to play a central role in thermotolerance in plants, a key regulator of these responses was not identified. Here we report that the highly conserved transcriptional co-activator, MBF1c (multiprotein bridging factor 1c), is a key regulator of thermotolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. MBF1c protein accumulates rapidly and is localized to nuclei during heat stress. MBF1c is required for thermotolerance and functions upstream to SA, trehalose, ethylene, and pathogenesis-related protein 1 during heat stress. In contrast, MBF1c is not required for the expression of transcripts encoding HSFA2 and different heat shock proteins. Interestingly, MBF1c interacts with TPS5 (trehalose phosphate synthase 5), which is also heat-inducible, and mutants deficient in TPS5 are thermosensitive. Our results provide evidence for the existence of a tightly coordinated heat stress-response network, involving trehalose-, SA-, and ethylene-signaling pathways, that is under the control of MBF1c.

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