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Heat stress is an important factor that has a negative impact on rice (Oryza sativa) production. To alleviate this problem, it is necessary to extensively understand the genetic basis of heat tolerance and adaptability to heat stress in rice. Here, we report the molecular mechanism underlying heat acclimation memory that confers long-term acquired thermotolerance (LAT) in this monocot plant. Our results showed that a positive feedback loop formed by two heat-inducible genes, HEAT SHOCK PROTEIN101 (HSP101) and HEAT STRESS-ASSOCIATED 32-KD PROTEIN (HSA32), at the posttranscriptional level prolongs the effect of heat acclimation in rice seedlings. The interplay between HSP101 and HSA32 also affects basal thermotolerance of rice seeds. These findings are similar to those reported for the dicot plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), suggesting a conserved function in plant heat stress response. Comparison between two rice cultivars, japonica Nipponbare and indica N22 showed opposite performance in basal thermotolerance and LAT assays. 'N22' seedlings have a higher basal thermotolerance level than cv Nipponbare and vice versa at the LAT level, indicating that these two types of thermotolerance can be decoupled. The HSP101 and HSA32 protein levels were substantially higher in cv Nipponbare than in cv N22 after a long recovery following heat acclimation treatment, at least partly explaining the difference in the LAT phenotype. Our results point out the complexity of thermotolerance diversity in rice cultivars, which may need to be taken into consideration when breeding for heat tolerance for different climate scenarios.


Meng-yi Lin, Kuo-hsing Chai, Swee-suak Ko, Lin-yun Kuang, Huu-sheng Lur, Yee-yung Charng. A positive feedback loop between HEAT SHOCK PROTEIN101 and HEAT STRESS-ASSOCIATED 32-KD PROTEIN modulates long-term acquired thermotolerance illustrating diverse heat stress responses in rice varieties. Plant physiology. 2014 Apr;164(4):2045-53

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PMID: 24520156

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