Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms to respond and adapt to abiotic stress. High temperature stress induces the heat shock response. During the heat shock response a large number of genes are up-regulated, many of which code for chaperone proteins that prevent irreversible protein aggregation and cell death. However, it is clear that heat shock is not the only mechanism involved in the plant heat stress response. Alternative splicing (AS) is also important during heat stress since this post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism can produce significant transcriptome and proteome variation. In this study, we examine AS during heat stress in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana and in the highly thermotolerant native California mustard Boechera depauperata. Analyses of AS during heat stress revealed that while a significant number of genes undergo AS and are differentially expressed (DE) during heat stress, some undergo both AS and DE. Analysis of the functional categories of genes undergoing AS indicated that enrichment patterns are different in the two species. Categories enriched in B. depauperata included light response genes and numerous abiotic stress response genes. Categories enriched in A. thaliana, but not in B. depauperata, included RNA processing and nucleotide binding. We conclude that AS and DE are largely independent responses to heat stress. Furthermore, this study reveals significant differences in the AS response to heat stress in the two related mustard species. This indicates AS responses to heat stress are species-specific. Future studies will explore the role of AS of specific genes in organismal thermotolerance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science