Cell signalling in response to heat shock in Arabidopsis thaliana
Increases in temperature damage plant cells, and plants react to heat stress by inducing of a number of protective mechanisms. In this study, it has been shown that heat damages cells both directly while the plants are being heated, and indirectly through heat induced oxidative stress during recovery from heating. Different stress response pathways are induced in each case. Evidence implicates salicylic acid, abscisic acid, ACC (a precursor of ethylene), calcium ions and active oxygen species in pathways resulting in thermotolerance (i.e. increased survival at high temperature). Addition of these potential second messengers results in increased survival and decreased oxidative damage after heating (as measured using the TBARS assay), while silencing the pathways through use of mutants, inhibitors or transgenes results in decreased thermotolerance. In vivo calcium measurements show cytosolic calcium transients only at initiation of cooling after heat stress. Calcium chloride also induces thermotolerance when added after heating, as does ACC. These substances can induce early increases in ascorbate peroxidase activity after heating, and induce expression of antioxidant genes. Thus they may play a role in heat induced oxidative stress response pathways in recovery. Two different pathways induced during heating appear to result in the expression of genes for heat shock proteins. The predominant pathway induced at 30oC involves ABA, while that at 35-40oC involves an oxidative burst generated through the NADPH oxidase, atrbohB. Addition of SA can induce HSP (heat shock protein) expression, but there is little evidence that this occurs endogenously in plant cells, although nahG plants unable to signal via SA are thermosensitive. Results in this study indicate that there are several signalling pathways associated with heat shock. The pathway induced during recovery from heating involves calcium ions and ethylene, and results in increased antioxidant capacity. During heating two pathways induce expression of HSPs: one involving abscisic acid and possibly salicylic acid and one involving an oxidative burst. At least one further pathway is believed to exist, which involves protein kinases and phosphatases as heat shock causes up-regulation of expression of certain genes for these signalling components.