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Planta. 2011 Jun;233(6):1237-52. doi: 10.1007/s00425-011-1375-2. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Arabidopsis thaliana WRKY25, WRKY26, and WRKY33 coordinate induction of plant thermotolerance.

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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, People's Republic of China.


Limited information is available regarding the exact function of specific WRKY transcription factors in plant responses to heat stress. We analyzed the roles of WRKY25, WRKY26, and WRKY33, three types of group I WRKY proteins, in the regulation of resistance to heat stress. Expression of WRKY25 and WRKY26 was induced upon treatment with high temperature, whereas WRKY33 expression was repressed. Heat-treated WRKY single mutants exhibited small responses, while wrky25wrky26 and wrky25wrky33 double mutants and the wrky25wrky26wrky33 triple mutants showed substantially increased susceptibility to heat stress, showing reduced germination, decreased survival, and elevated electrolyte leakage, compared with wild-type plants. In contrast, constitutive expression of WRKY25, WRKY26, or WRKY33 enhanced resistance to heat stress. Expression studies of selected heat-defense genes in single, double, and triple mutants, as well as in over-expressing lines, were correlated with their thermotolerance phenotypes and demonstrated that the three WRKY transcription factors modulate transcriptional changes of heat-inducible genes in response to heat treatment. In addition, our findings provided evidence that WRKY25, WRKY26, and WRKY33 were involved in regulation of the heat-induced ethylene-dependent response and demonstrated positive cross-regulation within these three genes. Together, these results indicate that WRKY25, WRKY26, and WRKY33 positively regulate the cooperation between the ethylene-activated and heat shock proteins-related signaling pathways that mediate responses to heat stress; and that these three proteins interact functionally and play overlapping and synergetic roles in plant thermotolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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