Based on phylogeny of DNA-binding domains and the organization of hydrophobic repeats, two families of heat shock transcription factors (HSFs) exist in plants. Class A HSFs are involved in the activation of the heat shock response, but the role of class B HSFs is not clear. When transcriptional activities of full-length HSFs were monitored in tobacco protoplasts, no class B HSFs from soybean or Arabidopsis showed activity under control or heat stress conditions. Additional assays confirmed the finding that the class B HSFs lacked the capacity to activate transcription. Fusion of a heterologous activation domain from human HSF1 (AD2) to the C-terminus of GmHSFB1-34 gave no evidence of synergistic enhancement of AD2 activity, which would be expected if weak activation domains were present. Furthermore, activity of AtHSFB1-4 (class B) was not rescued by coexpression with AtHSFA4-21 (class A) indicating that the class A HSF was not able to provide a missing function required for class B activity. The transcriptional activation potential of Arabidopsis AtHSFA4-21 was mapped primarily to a 39 amino acid fragment in the C-terminus enriched in bulky hydrophobic and acidic residues. Deletion mutagenesis of the C-terminal activator regions of tomato and Arabidopsis HSFs indicated that these plant HSFs lack heat-inducible regulatory regions analogous to those of mammalian HSF1. These findings suggest that heat shock regulation in plants may differ from metazoans by partitioning negative and positive functional domains onto separate HSF proteins. Class A HSFs are primarily responsible for stress-inducible activation of heat shock genes whereas some of the inert class B HSFs may be specialized for repression, or down-regulation, of the heat shock response.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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