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Plant Signal Behav. 2012 May;7(5):547-50. doi: 10.4161/psb.19803. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Acquired thermotolerance independent of heat shock factor A1 (HsfA1), the master regulator of the heat stress response.

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Institute of Plant Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


The heat stress (HS) response in eukaryotes is mainly regulated by heat shock factors (HSFs). Genetic disruption of the master HSF gene leads to dramatically reduced HS response and thermotolerance in several model organisms. However, it is not clear whether organisms devoid of the master regulator can still acclimate to heat. Previously, we showed that Arabidopsis HsfA1a, HsfA1b, and HsfA1d act as master regulators in the HS response. In this study, we examined the heat acclimation capacity of the Arabidopsis quadruple and triple T-DNA knockout mutants of HsfA1a, HsfA1b, HsfA1d, and HsfA1e. Our data showed that in the absence of the master regulators, a minimal but significant level of acquired thermotolerance could be attained in the Arabidopsis mutants after acclimation. The optimum acclimation temperature for the HsfA1 quadruple mutant was lower than that for the wild type plants, suggesting that plant cells have two HS-sensing mechanisms that can be distinguished genetically. The acquired thermotolerance of the quadruple mutant was likely due to the induction of a small number of HsfA1-independent HS response genes regulated by other transcription factors. Here, we discuss the possible candidates and propose a working model of the transcription network of the HS response by including the HsfA1-dependent and -independent pathways.

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