Ectopic over-expression of BhHsf1, a heat shock factor from the resurrection plant Boea hygrometrica, leads to increased thermotolerance and retarded growth in transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco
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Plant heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) are commonly found to be involved in various stress responses. Several Hsfs displayed dwarf phenotype while conferred stress tolerance when over-expressed. However, the underlying mechanisms were not fully understood. Here we report the cloning and characterization of an Hsf (BhHsf1) from the resurrection plant Boea hygrometrica. Drought, heat and wound can induce BhHsf1 expression. The over-expression of BhHsf1 conferred growth retardation and stress tolerance in both Arabidopsis and tobacco. Evidence was presented to show that the growth retardation of aerial organs in the transgenic plants was resulted from the reduction of cell proliferation. Gene expression profiling using microarray hybridization and pathway analysis showed that Hsps and stress-associated genes were induced whereas the genes related to DNA replication and mitotic cell cycle were down-regulated in BhHsf1 over-expression Arabidopsis, which was in consistence with the observation of the impaired nuclear endoreduplication. Taking together, our results suggest that BhHsf1 may play dual roles in mediating the processes in heat stress tolerance and growth retardation via regulation of target genes related to stress protection and mitotic cell cycle.