Expression of a unique plastid-localized heat-shock protein is genetically linked to acquired thermotolerance in wheat

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


We have used a combination of molecular and classical genetic approaches to delineate the relationship between a specific HSP member and cell viability under heat stress. Using recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of wheat, derived from a cross of the thermotolerant cultivar 'Mustang' and the thermosusceptible cultivar 'Sturdy,' we have identified a unique HSP and a differentially expressed cDNA sequence, both related to the plastid-localized HSP26 gene family, that are closely associated with acquired thermotolerance in wheat. An isoform of HSP26 was synthesized under heat stress in all examined thermotolerant RILs and 'Mustang', and was absent in all examined thermosusceptible RILs and 'Sturdy.' Using a modified differential-display method, we have also identified a gene-specific cDNA sequence that is similar to other known members of the wheat HSP26 gene family and is selectively expressed in 'Mustang' and most of the examined thermotolerant RILs, but not expressed in 'Sturdy' and all the thermosusceptible RILs. These results suggest a genetic linkage between the acquired thermotolerance trait and the differential expression of a unique member of the HSP26 gene family.

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Theoretical and Applied Genetics