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FEBS J. 2009 Sep;276(18):5252-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2009.07219.x. Epub 2009 Aug 10.

CAP2 enhances germination of transgenic tobacco seeds at high temperature and promotes heat stress tolerance in yeast.

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National Institute of Plant Genome Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India.


We reported earlier that ectopic expression of CAP2, a single AP2 domain containing transcription activator from chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in tobacco improves growth and development, and tolerance to dehydration and salt stress, of the transgenic plants. Here, we report that, in addition, the CAP2-transgenic tobacco seeds also exhibit higher germination efficiency at high temperature and show higher expression levels of genes for tobacco heat shock proteins and a heat shock factor. CAP2 was able to activate the 5'-upstream activating sequence of tobacco heat shock factor. Surprisingly, expression of CAP2 cDNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae also enhanced heat tolerance, with increased expression of the gene for yeast heat shock factor 1 (Hsf1) and its target, the gene for yeast heat shock protein 104 (Hsp104). Sequence analysis of the Hsf1 promoter revealed the presence of a dehydration-responsive element/C-repeat-like element (DRE/CRE). Recombinant CAP2 protein bound to the DRE/CRE in the Hsf1 promoter in a gel shift assay and transactivated the Hsf1 promoter-His reporter construct. The full-length CAP2 protein was required to provide thermotolerance in yeast. If these findings are taken together, our results suggest that CAP2 is involved in the heat stress response and provides an example of functioning of a plant transcription factor in yeast, highlighting the strong evolutionary conservation of the stress response mechanism.

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