5 years ago

Heat shock factor C2a serves as a proactive mechanism for heat protection in developing grains in wheat via an ABA-mediated regulatory pathway

Janneke Drenth, Zheng-Bin Zhang, Xiao-Jun Hu, M. Fernanda Dreccer, Sundaravelpandian Kalaipandian, Gang-Ping Xue, Dandan Chen, C. Lynne Mclntyre, Hongping Chang
High temperature at grain filling can severely reduce wheat yield. Heat shock factors (Hsfs) are central regulators in heat acclimation. This study investigated the role of TaHsfC2a, a member of the monocot-specific HsfC2 subclass, in the regulation of heat protection genes in Triticum aestivum. Three TaHsfC2a homoeologous genes were highly expressed in wheat grains during grain filling and showed only transient up-regulation in the leaves by heat stress but were markedly up-regulated by drought and abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Overexpression of TaHsfC2a-B in transgenic wheat resulted in up-regulation of a suite of heat protection genes (e.g. TaHSP70d and TaGalSyn). Most TaHsfC2a-B target genes were heat, drought and ABA inducible. Transactivation analysis of two representative targets (TaHSP70d and TaGalSyn) showed that TaHsfC2a-B activated expression of reporters driven by these target promoters. Promoter mutagenesis analyses revealed that heat shock element is responsible for transactivation by TaHsfC2a-B and heat/drought induction. TaHsfC2a-B-overexpressing wheat showed improved thermotolerance but not dehydration tolerance. Most TaHsfC2a-B target genes were co-up-regulated in developing grains with TaHsfC2a genes. These data suggest that TaHsfC2a-B is a transcriptional activator of heat protection genes and serves as a proactive mechanism for heat protection in developing wheat grains via the ABA-mediated regulatory pathway.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/pce.12957

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