Altered gene expression in plants with constitutive expression of a mitochondrial small heat shock protein suggests the involvement of retrograde regulation in the heat stress response

David M. Rhoads, Samuel J. White, You Zhou, Mrinalini Muralidharan, Thomas E. Elthon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Heat stress can negatively affect crop productivity. One way in which plants attempt to alleviate the effects of heat stress is to induce the expression of genes encoding heat shock proteins (HSPs), including small HSPs (sHSPs). We produced transgenic lines of Arabidopsis thaliana expressing a transgene encoding a maize mitochondrial sHSP, ZmHSP22. The transgene, under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, is constitutively highly expressed in these lines. As demonstrated by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy and analyses of isolated mitochondria, ZmHSP22 is directed to the mitochondria of Arabidopsis and is processed into the mature form. These transgenic lines demonstrated altered expression of nuclear genes encoding the endogenous mitochondrial sHSP, AtHSP23.6, chloroplast localized AtHSP25.3, class I cytosolic AtHSP17.4, cytosolic AtHSP70-1 and chloroplast localized AtHSP70-6, but not cytosolic AtHSP70-15, following exposure to heat stress. This suggests that the expression of HSPs can be affected by heat-induced mitochondrial retrograde regulation. Three-week-old plants from the transgenic Arabidopsis lines expressing ZmHSP22 have increased thermotolerance, as measured by the maintenance of higher leaf mass following successive days with short periods of heat stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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