Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 379–389 | Cite as

NnHSP17.5, a cytosolic class II small heat shock protein gene from Nelumbo nucifera, contributes to seed germination vigor and seedling thermotolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis

  • Yuliang Zhou
  • Huhui Chen
  • Pu Chu
  • Yin Li
  • Bin Tan
  • Yu Ding
  • Edward W. T. Tsang
  • Liwen Jiang
  • Keqiang Wu
  • Shangzhi HuangEmail author
Original Paper


In plants, small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) are unusually abundant and diverse proteins involved in various abiotic stresses, but their functions in seed vigor remain to be fully explored. In this study, we report the isolation and functional characterization of a sHSP gene, NnHSP17.5, from sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) in seed germination vigor and seedling thermotolerance. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis indicate that NnHSP17.5 is a cytosolic class II sHSP, which was further supported by the cytosolic localization of the NnHSP17.5-YFP fusion protein. NnHSP17.5 was specifically expressed in seeds under normal conditions, and was strongly up-regulated in germinating seeds upon heat and oxidative stresses. Transgenic Arabidopsis seeds ectopically expressing NnHSP17.5 displayed enhanced seed germination vigor and exhibited increased superoxide dismutase activity after accelerated aging treatment. In addition, improved basal thermotolerance was also observed in the transgenic seedlings. Taken together, this work highlights the importance of a plant cytosolic class II sHSP both in seed germination vigor and seedling thermotolerance.


Arabidopsis Oxidative stresses Sacred lotus Seed germination vigor Seedling thermotolerance sHSPs 



Accelerated aging


α-Crystallin domain


Days after pollination


Expressed sequence tag


Methyl viologen


Nitro blue tetrazolium


Rapid amplification of cDNA ends


Relative humidity


Small heat shock proteins


Superoxide dismutase


Yellow fluorescent protein



This study was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (30370912), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2006B20101010 and 9151027501000075) and Guangdong Agriculture Science and Technology Team Project to S. Huang.

Supplementary material

299_2011_1173_MOESM1_ESM.doc (3.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 3617 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuliang Zhou
    • 1
  • Huhui Chen
    • 1
  • Pu Chu
    • 1
  • Yin Li
    • 1
  • Bin Tan
    • 1
  • Yu Ding
    • 2
  • Edward W. T. Tsang
    • 3
  • Liwen Jiang
    • 2
  • Keqiang Wu
    • 4
  • Shangzhi Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Resource, School of Life SciencesSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Life Sciences, Centre for Cell and Developmental BiologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of CanadaSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina

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