Imprints of stress response by rice seedlings in terms of expression levels of stress response gene HSP70 are characterised . The response to arsenic and/or heat shock are shown to be additive for the same stress or the combined stresses, indicating a commonality of signalling pathways.
Background and aims
Plants can withstand many abiotic stresses. Stress adaptation through retention of imprints of previous stress exposure has also been described in plants. We have characterized the imprint or memory of adaptive stress responses of rice seedlings to arsenic (As) and heat stress.
Two-week-old rice seedlings (both with and without As) were given a 45 °C heat shock for 3 h. While under heat shock, the leafy portion of the seedlings was harvested at regular intervals. Subsequently, the seedlings were kept at room temperature for recovery and sampling continued over 3 h. Total RNA and protein were extracted from the leafy portion of the seedlings and complementary DNA (cDNA) was prepared from total RNA. The cDNA was used as a template for the polymerase chain reaction to identify the transcription level of HSP70. Protein extracted from the seedlings was western-blotted. HSP70 and actin (loading control) antibodies were used to recognize the proteins on the same blot.
Our studies reveal that HSP70, a cellular chaperone gene, is over-expressed at the mRNA and protein levels when rice seedlings are exposed to As and heat. The effect is cumulative and increases with the duration of stress for 3 h. During 3 h recovery from heat stress at ambient temperatures for 3 h, the chaperone remains expressed at higher levels in plants pre-exposed to As.
Our findings demonstrate a retention of the imprint of previous stress exposure, perhaps through sustained activation of the signalling pathways upstream of over-expression of HSP70. Furthermore, stress-induced HSP70 expression was additive/cumulative for continued exposure to similar or different kinds of stress, indicating that a commonality of signal transduction networks is adopted when plants experience more than one stress.