High temperature affects organism growth and metabolic activity. Heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) are key regulators in heat shock response in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Under high temperature conditions, Hsfs activate heat shock proteins (Hsps) by combining with heat stress elements (HSEs) in their promoters, leading to defense of heat stress. Since the first plant Hsf gene was identified in tomato, several plant Hsf family genes have been thoroughly characterized. Although soybean (Glycine max), an important oilseed crops, genome sequences have been available, the Hsf family genes in soybean have not been characterized accurately.
We analyzed the Hsf genetic structures and protein function domains using the GSDS, Pfam, SMART, PredictNLS, and NetNES online tools. The genome scanning of dicots (soybean and Arabidopsis) and monocots (rice and maize) revealed that the whole-genome replication occurred twice in soybean evolution. The plant Hsfs were classified into 3 classes and 16 subclasses according to protein structure domains. The A8 and B3 subclasses existed only in dicots and the A9 and C2 occurred only in monocots. Thirty eight soybean Hsfs were systematically identified and grouped into 3 classes and 12 subclasses, and located on 15 soybean chromosomes. The promoter regions of the soybean Hsfs contained cis-elements that likely participate in drought, low temperature, and ABA stress responses. There were large differences among Hsfs based on transcriptional levels under the stress conditions. The transcriptional levels of the A1 and A2 subclass genes were extraordinarily high. In addition, differences in the expression levels occurred for each gene in the different organs and at the different developmental stages. Several genes were chosen to determine their subcellular localizations and functions. The subcellular localization results revealed that GmHsf-04, GmHsf-33, and GmHsf-34 were located in the nucleus. Overexpression of the GmHsf-34 gene improved the tolerances to drought and heat stresses in Arabidopsis plants.
This present investigation of the quantity, structural features, expression characteristics, subcellular localizations, and functional roles provides a scientific basis for further research on soybean Hsf functions.
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Hsfs; Genome-wide identification; Expression pattern; Subcellular localization; Functional identification; Soybean
Plant heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) are the critical components involved in mediating responses to various environmental stressors. However, the detailed roles of many plant Hsfs are far from fully understood. In this study, an Hsf (SlHsfA3) was isolated from the cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, Sl) and functionally characterized at the genetic and developmental levels. The nucleus-localized SlHsfA3 was basally and ubiquitously expressed in different plant organs. The expression of SlHsfA3 was induced dramatically by heat stress, moderately by high salinity, and slightly by drought, but was not induced by abscisic acid (ABA). The ectopic overexpression of SlHsfA3 conferred increased thermotolerance and late flowering phenotype to transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Moreover, SlHsfA3 played a negative role in controlling seed germination under salt stress. RNA-sequencing data demonstrated that a number of heat shock proteins (Hsps) and stress-associated genes were induced in Arabidopsis plants overexpressing SlHsfA3. A gel shift experiment and transient expression assays in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves demonstrated that SlHsfA3 directly activates the expression of SlHsp26.1-P and SlHsp21.5-ER. Taken together, our results suggest that SlHsfA3 behaves as a typical Hsf to contribute to plant thermotolerance. The late flowering and seed germination phenotypes and the RNA-seq data derived from SlHsfA3 overexpression lines lend more credence to the hypothesis that plant Hsfs participate in diverse physiological and biochemical processes related to adverse conditions.
Heat shock factors (Hsfs) play a central regulatory role in acquired thermotolerance. To understand the role of the major molecular players in wheat adaptation to heat stress, the Hsf family was investigated in Triticum aestivum. Bioinformatic and phylogenetic analyses identified 56 TaHsf members, which are classified into A, B, and C classes. Many TaHsfs were constitutively expressed. Subclass A6 members were predominantly expressed in the endosperm under non-stress conditions. Upon heat stress, the transcript levels of A2 and A6 members became the dominant Hsfs, suggesting an important regulatory role during heat stress. Many TaHsfA members as well as B1, C1, and C2 members were also up-regulated during drought and salt stresses. The heat-induced expression profiles of many heat shock protein (Hsp) genes were paralleled by those of A2 and A6 members. Transactivation analysis revealed that in addition to TaHsfA members (A2b and A4e), overexpression of TaHsfC2a activated expression of TaHsp promoter-driven reporter genes under non-stress conditions, while TaHsfB1b and TaHsfC1b did not. Functional heat shock elements (HSEs) interacting with TaHsfA2b were identified in four TaHsp promoters. Promoter mutagenesis analysis demonstrated that an atypical HSE (GAACATTTTGGAA) in the TaHsp17 promoter is functional for heat-inducible expression and transactivation by Hsf proteins. The transactivation of Hsp promoter-driven reporter genes by TaHsfC2a also relied on the presence of HSE. An activation motif in the C-terminal domain of TaHsfC2a was identified by amino residue substitution analysis. These data demonstrate the role of HsfA and HsfC2 in regulation of Hsp genes in wheat.
Gene expression; gene regulation; heat shock factors; heat shock proteins; heat stress; transcription factors; wheat.
The rapid increase in heat shock proteins upon exposure to damaging stresses and during plant development related to desiccation events reveal their dual importance in plant development and stress tolerance. Genome-wide sequence survey identified 20 non-redundant small heat shock proteins (sHsp) and 22 heat shock factor (Hsf) genes in barley. While all three major classes (A, B, C) of Hsfs are localized in nucleus, the 20 sHsp gene family members are localized in different cell organelles like cytoplasm, mitochondria, plastid and peroxisomes. Hsf and sHsp members are differentially regulated during drought and at different seed developmental stages suggesting the importance of chaperone role under drought as well as seed development. In silico cis-regulatory motif analysis of Hsf promoters showed an enrichment with abscisic acid responsive cis-elements (ABRE), implying regulatory role of ABA in mediating transcriptional response of HvsHsf genes. Gene regulatory network analysis identified HvHsfB2c as potential central regulator of the seed-specific expression of several HvsHsps including 17.5CI sHsp. These results indicate that HvHsfB2c is co-expressed in the central hub of small Hsps and therefore it may be regulating the expression of several HvsHsp subclasses HvHsp16.88-CI, HvHsp17.5-CI and HvHsp17.7-CI. The in vivo relevance of binding specificity of HvHsfB2C transcription factor to HSE-element present in the promoter of HvSHP17.5-CI under heat stress exposure is confirmed by gel shift and LUC-reporter assays. Further, we isolated 477 bp cDNA from barley encoding a 17.5 sHsp polypeptide, which was predominantly upregulated under drought stress treatments and also preferentially expressed in developing seeds. Recombinant HvsHsp17.5-CI protein was expressed in E. coli and purified to homogeneity, which displayed in vitro chaperone activity. The predicted structural model of HvsHsp-17.5-CI protein suggests that the α-crystallin domain is evolutionarily highly conserved.
The heat shock response of Arabidopsis thaliana is dependent upon a complex regulatory network involving twenty-one known transcription factors and four heat shock protein families. It is known that heat shock proteins (Hsps) and transcription factors (Hsfs) are involved in cellular response to various forms of stress besides heat. However, the role of Hsps and Hsfs under cold and non-thermal stress conditions is not well understood, and it is unclear which types of stress interact least and most strongly with Hsp and Hsf response pathways. To address this issue, we have analyzed transcriptional response profiles of Arabidopsis Hsfs and Hsps to a range of abiotic and biotic stress treatments (heat, cold, osmotic stress, salt, drought, genotoxic stress, ultraviolet light, oxidative stress, wounding, and pathogen infection) in both above and below-ground plant tissues.
All stress treatments interact with Hsf and Hsp response pathways to varying extents, suggesting considerable cross-talk between heat and non-heat stress regulatory networks. In general, Hsf and Hsp expression was strongly induced by heat, cold, salt, and osmotic stress, while other types of stress exhibited family or tissue-specific response patterns. With respect to the Hsp20 protein family, for instance, large expression responses occurred under all types of stress, with striking similarity among expression response profiles. Several genes belonging to the Hsp20, Hsp70 and Hsp100 families were specifically upregulated twelve hours after wounding in root tissue, and exhibited a parallel expression response pattern during recovery from heat stress. Among all Hsf and Hsp families, large expression responses occurred under ultraviolet-B light stress in aerial tissue (shoots) but not subterranean tissue (roots).
Our findings show that Hsf and Hsp family member genes represent an interaction point between multiple stress response pathways, and therefore warrant functional analysis under conditions apart from heat shock treatment. In addition, our analysis revealed several family and tissue-specific heat shock gene expression patterns that have not been previously described. These results have implications regarding the molecular basis of cross-tolerance in plant species, and raise new questions to be pursued in future experimental studies of the Arabidopsis heat shock response network.
Reduction in crop yield and quality due to various abiotic stresses is a worldwide phenomenon. In the present investigation, a heat shock factor (HSF) gene expressing preferentially in developing seed tissues of wheat grown under high temperatures was cloned. This newly identified heat shock factor possesses the characteristic domains of class A type plant HSFs and shows high similarity to rice OsHsfA2d, hence named as TaHsfA2d. The transcription factor activity of TaHsfA2d was confirmed through transactivation assay in yeast. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing TaHsfA2d not only possess higher tolerance towards high temperature but also showed considerable tolerance to salinity and drought stresses, they also showed higher yield and biomass accumulation under constant heat stress conditions. Analysis of putative target genes of AtHSFA2 through quantitative RT-PCR showed higher and constitutive expression of several abiotic stress responsive genes in transgenic Arabidopsis plants over-expressing TaHsfA2d. Under stress conditions, TaHsfA2d can also functionally complement the T-DNA insertion mutants of AtHsfA2, although partially. These observations suggest that TaHsfA2d may be useful in molecular breeding of crop plants, especially wheat, to improve yield under abiotic stress conditions.
Heat shock response in eukaryotes is transcriptionally regulated by conserved heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs). Hsf genes are represented by a large multigene family in plants and investigation of the Hsf gene family will serve to elucidate the mechanisms by which plants respond to stress. In recent years, reports of genome-wide structural and evolutionary analysis of the entire Hsf gene family have been generated in two model plant systems, Arabidopsis and rice. Maize, an important cereal crop, has represented a model plant for genetics and evolutionary research. Although some Hsf genes have been characterized in maize, analysis of the entire Hsf gene family were not completed following Maize (B73) Genome Sequencing Project.
A genome-wide analysis was carried out in the present study to identify all Hsfs maize genes. Due to the availability of complete maize genome sequences, 25 nonredundant Hsf genes, named ZmHsfs were identified. Chromosomal location, protein domain and motif organization of ZmHsfs were analyzed in maize genome. The phylogenetic relationships, gene duplications and expression profiles of ZmHsf genes were also presented in this study. Twenty-five ZmHsfs were classified into three major classes (class A, B, and C) according to their structural characteristics and phylogenetic comparisons, and class A was further subdivided into 10 subclasses. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the orthologs from the three species (maize, Arabidopsis and rice) were distributed in all three classes, it also revealed diverse Hsf gene family expression patterns in classes and subclasses. Chromosomal/segmental duplications played a key role in Hsf gene family expansion in maize by investigation of gene duplication events. Furthermore, the transcripts of 25 ZmHsf genes were detected in the leaves by heat shock using quantitative real-time PCR. The result demonstrated that ZmHsf genes exhibit different expression levels in heat stress treatment.
Overall, data obtained from our investigation contributes to a better understanding of the complexity of the maize Hsf gene family and provides the first step towards directing future experimentation designed to perform systematic analysis of the functions of the Hsf gene family.
Heat shock proteins play an important role in plant stress tolerance and are mainly regulated by heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs). In this study, we generated transgenic rice over-expressing OsHsfA7 and carried out morphological observation and stress tolerance assays. Transgenic plants exhibited less, shorter lateral roots and root hair. Under salt treatment, over-expressing OsHsfA7 rice showed alleviative appearance of damage symptoms and higher survival rate, leaf electrical conductivity and malondialdehyde content of transgenic plants were lower than those of wild type plants. Meanwhile, transgenic rice seedlings restored normal growth but wild type plants could not be rescued after drought and re-watering treatment. These findings indicate that over-expression of OsHsfA7 gene can increase tolerance to salt and drought stresses in rice seedlings. [BMB Reports 2013; 46(1): 31-36]
Drought tolerance; OsHsfA7; Rice; Root morphology; Salt tolerance
Heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) are the central regulators of defense response to heat stress. We identified a total of 25 rice Hsf genes by genome-wide analysis of rice (Oryza sativa L.) genome, including the subspecies of O. japonica and O. indica. Proteins encoded by OsHsfs were divided into three classes according to their structures. Digital Northern analysis showed that OsHsfs were expressed constitutively. The expressions of these OsHsfs in response to heat stress and oxidative stress differed among the members of the gene family. Promoter analysis identified a number of stress-related cis-elements in the promoter regions of these OsHsfs. No significant correlation, however, was found between the heat-shock responses of genes and their cis-elements. Overall, our results provide a foundation for future research of OsHsfs function.
Heat shock; Transcription factors; Rice; Protein structure; Expression analysis
The heat shock transcription factor (HSF) is a conserved regulator of heat shock-inducible gene expression. Organismal roles for HSF in physiological processes such as development, aging, and immunity have been defined largely through studies of the single C. elegans HSF homolog, hsf-1. However, the molecular and cell biological properties of hsf-1 in C. elegans are incompletely understood. We generated animals expressing physiological levels of an HSF-1::GFP fusion protein and examined its function, localization, and regulation in vivo. HSF-1::GFP was functional as measured by its ability to rescue phenotypes associated with two hsf-1 mutant alleles. Rescue of hsf-1 stress, aging, and development phenotypes was abolished in a DNA-binding-deficient mutant, demonstrating that the transcriptional targets of hsf-1 are critical to its function even in the absence of stress. Under non-stress conditions, HSF-1::GFP was found primarily in the nucleus. Following heat shock, HSF-1::GFP rapidly and reversibly redistributed into dynamic, sub-nuclear structures that share many properties with human nuclear stress granules, including colocalization with markers of active transcription. Rapid formation of HSF-1 stress granules required HSF-1 DNA binding activity and the threshold for stress granule formation was altered by growth temperature. HSF-1 stress granule formation was not induced by inhibition of IGF signaling, a pathway previously suggested to function upstream of hsf-1. Our findings suggest that development, stress, and aging pathways may regulate HSF-1 function in distinct ways, and that HSF-1 nuclear stress granule formation is an evolutionarily conserved aspect of HSF-1 regulation in vivo.
Heat shock factor; aging; longevity
Chaperone synthesis in response to proteotoxic stress is dependent on a family of transcription factors named heat shock factors (HSFs). The two main factors in this family, HSF1 and HSF2, are co-expressed in numerous tissues where they can interact and form heterotrimers in response to proteasome inhibition. HSF1 and HSF2 exhibit two alternative splicing isoforms, called α and β, which contribute to additional complexity in HSF transcriptional regulation, but remain poorly examined in the literature. In this work, we studied the transcriptional activity of HSF1 and HSF2 splicing isoforms transfected into immortalized Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (iMEFs) deleted for both Hsf1 and Hsf2, under normal conditions and after proteasome inhibition. We found that HSF1α is significantly more active than the β isoform after exposure to the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Furthermore, we clearly established that, while HSF2 had no transcriptional activity by itself, short β isoform of HSF2 exerts a negative role on HSF1β-dependent transactivation. To further assess the impact of HSF2β inhibition on HSF1 activity, we developed a mathematical modelling approach which revealed that the balance between each HSF isoform in the cell regulated the strength of the transcriptional response. Moreover, we found that cellular stress such as proteasome inhibition could regulate the splicing of Hsf2 mRNA. All together, our results suggest that relative amounts of each HSF1 and HSF2 isoforms quantitatively determine the cellular level of the proteotoxic stress response.
Heat stress commonly leads to inhibition of photosynthesis in higher plants. The transcriptional induction of heat stress-responsive genes represents the first line of inducible defense against imbalances in cellular homeostasis. Although heat stress transcription factor HsfA2 and its downstream target genes are well studied, the regulatory mechanisms by which HsfA2 is activated in response to heat stress remain elusive. Here, we show that chloroplast ribosomal protein S1 (RPS1) is a heat-responsive protein and functions in protein biosynthesis in chloroplast. Knockdown of RPS1 expression in the rps1 mutant nearly eliminates the heat stress-activated expression of HsfA2 and its target genes, leading to a considerable loss of heat tolerance. We further confirm the relationship existed between the downregulation of RPS1 expression and the loss of heat tolerance by generating RNA interference-transgenic lines of RPS1. Consistent with the notion that the inhibited activation of HsfA2 in response to heat stress in the rps1 mutant causes heat-susceptibility, we further demonstrate that overexpression of HsfA2 with a viral promoter leads to constitutive expressions of its target genes in the rps1 mutant, which is sufficient to reestablish lost heat tolerance and recovers heat-susceptible thylakoid stability to wild-type levels. Our findings reveal a heat-responsive retrograde pathway in which chloroplast translation capacity is a critical factor in heat-responsive activation of HsfA2 and its target genes required for cellular homeostasis under heat stress. Thus, RPS1 is an essential yet previously unknown determinant involved in retrograde activation of heat stress responses in higher plants.
As a consequence of global warming, increasing temperature is a serious threat to crop production worldwide and may influence the objectives of breeding programs. As a universal cellular response to a shift up in temperature, the heat stress response represents the first line of inducible defense against imbalances in cellular homeostasis in the prokaryotic and eukaryotic kingdoms. Given that components of the photosynthetic apparatus housed in the chloroplast are the primary susceptible targets of thermal damage in plants, the chloroplasts were proposed as sensors to a shift up in temperature. However, the mechanism by which chloroplasts regulate the expression of nuclear heat stress–responsive gene expression according to the functional state of chloroplasts under heat stress remains unknown. In this study, we have identified chloroplast ribosomal protein S1 (RPS1) as a heat-responsive protein through proteomic screening of heat-responsive proteins. We have established a previously unrecognized molecular connection between the downregulation of RPS1 expression in chloroplast and the activation of HsfA2-dependent heat-responsive genes in nucleus, which is required for heat tolerance in higher plants. Our data provide new insights into the mechanisms whereby plant cells modulate nuclear gene expression to keep accordance with the current status of chloroplasts in response to heat stress.
Heat shock transcriptional factors (Hsfs) play important roles in the processes of biotic and abiotic stresses as well as in plant development. Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, 2n = 4x = (AD)2 = 52) is an important crop for natural fiber production. Due to continuous high temperature and intermittent drought, heat stress is becoming a handicap to improve cotton yield and lint quality. Recently, the related wild diploid species Gossypium raimondii genome (2n = 2x = (D5)2 = 26) has been fully sequenced. In order to analyze the functions of different Hsfs at the genome-wide level, detailed characterization and analysis of the Hsf gene family in G. hirsutum is indispensable.
EST assembly and genome-wide analyses were applied to clone and identify heat shock transcription factor (Hsf) genes in Upland cotton (GhHsf). Forty GhHsf genes were cloned, identified and classified into three main classes (A, B and C) according to the characteristics of their domains. Analysis of gene duplications showed that GhHsfs have occurred more frequently than reported in plant genomes such as Arabidopsis and Populus. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) showed that all GhHsf transcripts are expressed in most cotton plant tissues including roots, stems, leaves and developing fibers, and abundantly in developing ovules. Three expression patterns were confirmed in GhHsfs when cotton plants were exposed to high temperature for 1 h. GhHsf39 exhibited the most immediate response to heat shock. Comparative analysis of Hsfs expression differences between the wild-type and fiberless mutant suggested that Hsfs are involved in fiber development.
Comparative genome analysis showed that Upland cotton D-subgenome contains 40 Hsf members, and that the whole genome of Upland cotton contains more than 80 Hsf genes due to genome duplication. The expression patterns in different tissues in response to heat shock showed that GhHsfs are important for heat stress as well as fiber development. These results provide an improved understanding of the roles of the Hsf gene family during stress responses and fiber development.
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Heat shock transcriptional factors; Gossypium hirsutum; Heat stress; qRT-PCR; Fiber development
HSF1 is a master regulator of the heat-shock response in mammalian cells, whereas in avian cells, HSF3, which was considered as an avian-specific factor, is required for the expression of classical heat-shock genes. Here, the authors identify mouse HSF3, and demonstrate that it has the potential to activate only nonclassical heat-shock genes.
The heat-shock response is characterized by the expression of a set of classical heat-shock genes, and is regulated by heat-shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) in mammals. However, comprehensive analyses of gene expression have revealed very large numbers of inducible genes in cells exposed to heat shock. It is believed that HSF1 is required for the heat-inducible expression of these genes although HSF2 and HSF4 modulate some of the gene expression. Here, we identified a novel mouse HSF3 (mHSF3) translocated into the nucleus during heat shock. However, mHSF3 did not activate classical heat-shock genes such as Hsp70. Remarkably, overexpression of mHSF3 restored the expression of nonclassical heat-shock genes such as PDZK3 and PROM2 in HSF1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Although down-regulation of mHSF3 expression had no effect on gene expression or cell survival in wild-type MEF cells, it abolished the moderate expression of PDZK3 mRNA and reduced cell survival in HSF1-null MEF cells during heat shock. We propose that mHSF3 represents a unique HSF that has the potential to activate only nonclassical heat-shock genes to protect cells from detrimental stresses.
Heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) regulate gene expression in response to heat and many other environmental stresses in plants. Understanding the adaptive evolution of Hsf genes in the grass family will provide potentially useful information for the genetic improvement of modern crops to handle increasing global temperatures.
In this work, we performed a genome-wide survey of Hsf genes in 5 grass species, including rice, maize, sorghum, Setaria, and Brachypodium, by describing their phylogenetic relationships, adaptive evolution, and expression patterns under abiotic stresses. The Hsf genes in grasses were divided into 24 orthologous gene clusters (OGCs) based on phylogeneitc relationship and synteny, suggesting that 24 Hsf genes were present in the ancestral grass genome. However, 9 duplication and 4 gene-loss events were identified in the tested genomes. A maximum-likelihood analysis revealed the effects of positive selection in the evolution of 11 OGCs and suggested that OGCs with duplicated or lost genes were more readily influenced by positive selection than other OGCs. Further investigation revealed that positive selection acted on only one of the duplicated genes in 8 of 9 paralogous pairs, suggesting that neofunctionalization contributed to the evolution of these duplicated pairs. We also investigated the expression patterns of rice and maize Hsf genes under heat, salt, drought, and cold stresses. The results revealed divergent expression patterns between the duplicated genes.
This study demonstrates that neofunctionalization by changes in expression pattern and function following gene duplication has been an important factor in the maintenance and divergence of grass Hsf genes.
Expression divergence; Grass family; Heat stress transcription factors; Orthologous gene clusters; Positive selection
Two distinct murine heat shock transcription factors, HSF1 and HSF2, have been identified. HSF1 mediates the transcriptional activation of heat shock genes in response to environmental stress, while the function of HSF2 is not understood. Both factors can bind to heat shock elements (HSEs) but are maintained in a non-DNA-binding state under normal growth conditions. Mouse embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells are the only mammalian cells known to exhibit HSE-binding activity, as determined by gel shift assays, even when maintained at normal physiological temperatures. We demonstrate here that the constitutive HSE-binding activity present in F9 and PCC4.aza.R1 EC cells, as well as a similar activity found to be present in mouse embryonic stem cells, is composed predominantly of HSF2. HSF2 in F9 EC cells is trimerized and is present at higher levels than in a variety of nonembryonal cell lines, suggesting a correlation of these properties with constitutive HSE-binding activity. Surprisingly, transcription run-on assays suggest that HSF2 in unstressed EC cells does not stimulate transcription of two putative target genes, hsp70 and hsp86. Genomic footprinting analysis indicates that HSF2 is not bound in vivo to the HSE of the hsp70 promoter in unstressed F9 EC cells, although HSF2 is present in the nucleus and the promoter is accessible to other transcription factors and to HSF1 following heat shock. Thus trimerization and nuclear localization of HSF2 do not appear to be sufficient for in vivo binding of HSF2 to the HSE of the hsp70 promoter in unstressed F9 EC cells.
Two members of the heat shock transcription factor (HSF) family, HSF1 and HSF2, both function as transcriptional activators of heat shock gene expression. However, the inducible DNA-binding activities of these two factors are regulated by distinct pathways. HSF1 is activated by heat shock and other forms of stress, whereas HSF2 is activated during hemin-induced differentiation of human K562 erythroleukemia cells, suggesting a role for HSF2 in regulating heat shock gene expression under nonstress conditions such as differentiation and development. To understand the distinct regulatory pathways controlling HSF2 and HSF1 activities, we have examined the biochemical and physical properties of the control and activated states of HSF2 and compared these with the properties of HSF1. Our results reveal that the inactive, non-DNA-binding forms of HSF2 and HSF1 exist primarily in the cytoplasm of untreated K562 cells as a dimer and monomer, respectively. This difference in the control oligomeric states suggests that the mechanisms used to control the DNA-binding activities of HSF2 and HSF1 are distinct. Upon activation, both factors acquire DNA-binding activity, oligomerize to a trimeric state, and translocate into the nucleus. Interestingly, we find that simultaneous activation of both HSF2 and HSF1 in K562 cells subjected to hemin treatment followed by heat shock results in the synergistic induction of hsp70 gene transcription, suggesting a novel level of complex regulation of heat shock gene expression.
Organisms respond to circumstances threatening the cellular protein homeostasis by activation of heat-shock transcription factors (HSFs), which play important roles in stress resistance, development, and longevity. Of the four HSFs in vertebrates (HSF1-4), HSF1 is activated by stress, whereas HSF2 lacks intrinsic stress responsiveness. The mechanism by which HSF2 is recruited to stress-inducible promoters and how HSF2 is activated is not known. However, changes in the HSF2 expression occur, coinciding with the functions of HSF2 in development. Here, we demonstrate that HSF1 and HSF2 form heterotrimers when bound to satellite III DNA in nuclear stress bodies, subnuclear structures in which HSF1 induces transcription. By depleting HSF2, we show that HSF1-HSF2 heterotrimerization is a mechanism regulating transcription. Upon stress, HSF2 DNA binding is HSF1 dependent. Intriguingly, when the elevated expression of HSF2 during development is mimicked, HSF2 binds to DNA and becomes transcriptionally competent. HSF2 activation leads to activation of also HSF1, revealing a functional interdependency that is mediated through the conserved trimerization domains of these factors. We propose that heterotrimerization of HSF1 and HSF2 integrates transcriptional activation in response to distinct stress and developmental stimuli.
Using mouse L929 cells stably transfected with a glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-responsive murine mammary tumor virus–chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (MMTV–CAT) reporter gene (LMCAT2 cells), we have shown that cellular stress (heat or chemical shock) can cause a dramatic increase in the levels of dexamethasone (Dex)-induced CAT gene expression. We refer to this response as the heat shock potentiation effect, or HSPE. As the cellular heat shock response also involves the activation of heat shock transcription factor (HSF), we have, in the present study, examined the role of HSF in the stress potentiation of GR by use of a flavonoid compound, quercetin, recently shown to selectively inhibit the stress response in a variety of human and murine cell lines. Analysis of the HSPE, as well as heat shock protein synthesis and activation of HSF during time-courses of recovery following heat shock, revealed a similar pattern for each response, with peak activities occurring about 16 h after stress. These data suggest a correlation between the activation of both GR and HSF in stressed cells. In L929 cells stably transfected with a CAT reporter plasmid under the control of the HSF-responsive hsp70 promoter (LHSECAT cells), pretreatment with quercetin was found to cause a dose- and time-dependent inactivation of HSF activity following heat shock, but only when added before the stress event. In LMCAT2 cells, quercetin similarly inhibited both heat and chemical shock potentiation of Dex-induced GR activity. This activity of quercetin was not the result of post-transcriptional or general cytotoxic properties, as quercetin (1) did not significantly affect GR or HSF activities when added after the stress event, (2) did not reduce CAT gene expression as controlled by the constitutive SV40 early promoter, and (3) did not alter normal (non-stress), Dex-induced MMTV–CAT expression. Thus, quercetin appears to be an effective and selective inhibitor of HSF stress-induced activation and its ability to prevent the stress potentiation of GR suggests either a direct or indirect involvement by stress-activated HSF in this process, or the existence of a regulatory step common to both the heat shock and HSPE responses.
The class A heat shock factors HsfA1a and HsfA1b are highly conserved, interacting regulators, responsible for the immediate-early transcription of a subset of heat shock genes in Arabidopsis. In order to determine functional cooperation between them, we used a reporter assay based on transient over-expression in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Reporter plasmids containing promoters of Hsf target genes fused with the GFP coding region were co-transformed with Hsf effector plasmids. The GFP reporter gene activity was quantified using flow cytometry. Three of the tested target gene promoters (Hsp25.3, Hsp18.1-CI, Hsp26.5) resulted in a strong reporter gene activity, with HsfA1a or HsfA1b alone, and significantly enhanced GFP fluorescence when both effectors were co-transformed. A second set of heat shock promoters (HsfA2, Hsp17.6CII, Hsp17.6C-CI) was activated to much lower levels. These data suggest that HsfA1a/1b cooperate synergistically at a number of target gene promoters. These targets are also regulated via the late HsfA2, which is the most strongly heat-induced class A-Hsf in Arabidopsis. HsfA2 has also the capacity to interact with HsfA1a and HsfA1b as determined by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) in Arabidopsis protoplasts and yeast-two-hybrid assay. However, there was no synergistic effect on Hsp18.1-CI promoter-GFP reporter gene expression when HsfA2 was co-expressed with either HsfA1a or HsfA1b. These data provide evidence that interaction between early and late HSF is possible, but only interaction between the early Hsfs results in a synergistic enhancement of expression of certain target genes. The interaction of HsfA1a/A1b with the major-late HsfA2 may possibly support recruitment of HsfA2 and replacement of HsfA1a/A1b at the same target gene promoters.
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Heat shock transcription factor; Oligomerization domain; BiFC; Flow cytometry; Yeast-two-hybrid interaction; Protoplast transformation
Multiple heat shock transcription factors (HSFs) have been discovered in several higher eukaryotes, raising questions about their respective functions in the cellular stress response. Previously, we had demonstrated that the two mouse HSFs (mHSF1 and mHSF2) interacted differently with the HSP70 heat shock element (HSE). To further address the issues of cooperativity and the interaction of multiple HSFs with the HSE, we selected new mHSF1 and mHSF2 DNA-binding sites through protein binding and PCR amplification. The selected sequences, isolated from a random population, were composed primarily of alternating inverted arrays of the pentameric consensus 5'-nGAAn-3', and the nucleotides flanking the core GAA motif were nonrandom. The average number of pentamers selected in each binding site was four to five for mHSF1 and two to three for mHSF2, suggesting differences in the potential for cooperative interactions between adjacent trimers. Our comparison of mHSF1 and mHSF2 binding to selected sequences further substantiated these differences in cooperativity as mHSF1, unlike mHSF2, was able to bind to extended HSE sequences, confirming previous observations on the HSP70 HSE. Certain selected sequences that exhibited preferential binding of mHSF1 or mHSF2 were mutagenized, and these studies demonstrated that the affinity of an HSE for a particular HSF and the extent of HSF interaction could be altered by single base substitutions. The domain of mHSF1 utilized for cooperative interactions was transferable, as chimeric mHSF1/mHSF2 proteins demonstrated that sequences within or adjacent to the mHSF1 DNA-binding domain were responsible. We have demonstrated that HSEs can have a greater affinity for a specific HSF and that in mice, mHSF1 utilizes a higher degree of cooperativity in DNA binding. This suggests two ways in which cells have developed to regulate the activity of closely related transcription factors: developing the ability to fully occupy the target binding site and alteration of the target site to favor interaction with a specific factor.
ClpB-cytoplasmic (ClpB-cyt)/Hsp100 is an important chaperone protein in rice. Cellular expression of OsClpB-cyt transcript is governed by heat stress, metal stress, and developmental cues. Transgenic rice plants produced with 2 kb OsClpB-cyt promoter driving Gus reporter gene showed heat- and metal-regulated Gus expression in vegetative tissues and constitutive Gus expression in calli, flowering tissues, and embryonal half of seeds. Rice seedlings regenerated with OsClpB-cyt promoter fragment with deletion of its canonical heat shock element sequence (HSE−273 to −280) showed not only heat shock inducibility of Gus transcript/protein but also constitutive expression of Gus in vegetative tissues. It thus emerges that the only classical HSE present in OsClpB-cyt promoter is involved in repressing expression of OsClpB-cyt transcript under unstressed control conditions. Yeast one-hybrid assays suggested that OsHsfA2c specifically interacts with OsClpB-cyt promoter. OsHsfA2c also showed binding with OsClpB-cyt and OsHsfB4b showed binding with OsClpB-cyt; notably, interaction of OsHsfB4b was seen for all three OsClpB/Hsp100 protein isoforms (i.e., ClpB-cytoplasmic, ClpB-mitochondrial, and ClpB-chloroplastic). Furthermore, OsHsfB4b showed interaction with OsHsfA2c. This study suggests that OsHsfA2c may play a role as transcriptional activator and that OsHsfB4b is an important part of this heat shock responsive circuitry.
Electronic supplementary material
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cis-Acting sequences; Heat shock factor (Hsf); Heat shock protein100 (Hsp100); High temperature; Rice; trans-Acting factors
The heat shock transcription factor (HSF) genes encode proteins that bind to the heat shock elements (HSE) of stress-inducible genes. We have observed the induction of HSF1, the ubiquitous member of the HSF family from a latent cytoplasmic state to a form competent to bind HSE during early G1 in HeLa cells in the absence of stress. The induction of DNA-binding HSF1 coincided with a burst in cellular protein synthesis in early G1 and inhibition of this translational peak prevented the formation of DNA binding-activated HSF1. A potential role for HSF1 in cell cycle regulation was suggested by the finding that cell lines stably overexpressing HSF1 showed an increased proportion of G1 cells relative to other cell cycle phases. However, in contrast to the effects of heat shock, entry into G1 did not lead to HSF1 hyperphosphorylation or increased activity of a heat shock promoter-reporter gene and did not cause the induction of heat shock protein 70 expression. Thus HSF1, previously implicated in the heat shock response is activated to a DNA binding from in G1 under non-stress conditions and may play a role in G1 regulation that does not involve the transcription of heat shock genes.
Tomato heat stress transcription factor HsfA2 is a shuttling protein with dominant cytoplasmic localization as a result of a nuclear import combined with an efficient export. Besides the nuclear localization signal (NLS) adjacent to the oligomerization domain, a C-terminal leucine-rich motif functions as a nuclear export signal (NES). Mutant forms of HsfA2 with a defective or an absent NES are nuclear proteins. The same is true for the wild-type HsfA2 if coexpressed with HsfA1 or in the presence of export inhibitor leptomycin B (LMB). Fusion of the NES domain of HsfA2 to HsfB1, which is a nuclear protein, caused export of the HsfB1-A2NES hybrid protein, and this effect was reversed by the addition of LMB. Due to the lack of background problems, Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells represent an excellent system for expression and functional analysis of tomato Hsfs. The results faithfully reflect the situation found in plant cells (tobacco protoplasts). The intriguing role of NLS and NES accessibility for the intracellular distribution of HsfA2 is underlined by the results of heat stress treatments of CHO cells (41°C). Despite the fact that nuclear import and export are not markedly affected, HsfA2 remains completely cytoplasmic at 41°C even in the presence of LMB. The temperature-dependent conformational transition of HsfA2 with shielding of the NLS evidently needs intramolecular interaction between the internal HR-A/B and the C-terminal HR-C regions. It is not observed with the HR oligomerization domain (HR-A/B region) deletion form of HsfA2 or in HsfA2-HsfA1 hetero-oligomers.
Congenital cataracts account for about 10% of cases of childhood blindness. Heat shock transcription factor 4 (HSF4) is related with human autosomal dominant lamellar and Marner cataracts; a T→C transition at nucleotide 348 was found in a large Chinese cataract family. The aim of this study was to analyze the unique role of HSF4b and the mutation of HSF4b.
The isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ), coupled with the two-dimensional liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (2D LC-MS/MS) technique, was used to identify and quantify differential proteomes in human lens epithelial cell lines SRA 01/04 expressing wild-type and mutant HSF4b.
A total of 104 unique proteins were identified from the human lens epithelial cell lines SRA 01/04. Apart from the proteins due to the effect of the pcDNA3.1 vector, the wild-type and mutant HSF4b led to 23 differentially expressed proteins, of which four were histone proteins and three were ribosomal proteins. The T→C transition at nucleotide 348 in HSF4b led to 18 differentially expressed proteins in SRA 01/04, among which serpin H1 precursor, heat shock protein beta-1, and stress-70 protein belong to heat shock protein families. The up- or down-regulated proteins were functionally analyzed using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) to interpret the interaction network and predominant canonical pathways involved in these differentially expressed proteins.
A multitude of differentially expressed proteins was found to be associated with HSF4b and a T→C transition at nucleotide 348 in HSF4b. The proteins interacted directly or indirectly with each other, and they may provide clues as to how HSF4b modulates protein expression in the lens epithelial cells of SRA 01/04. Although further investigation is required, the results may provide some new clues to the transcriptional mechanism of HSF4b and cataract formation.