Heat suppresses activation of an auxin-responsive promoter in cultured guard cell protoplasts of tree tobacco

Malia A. Dong, Jennifer L. Bufford, Yutaka Oono, Kacy Church, Minh Q. Dau, Kara Michels, Michael Haughton, Gary Tallman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cultured guard cell protoplasts (GCP) of tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) comprise a novel system for investigating the cell signaling mechanisms that lead to acquired thermotolerance and thermoinhibition. At 32°C in a medium containing an auxin (1-naphthaleneacetic acid [NAA]) and a cytokinin (6-benzylaminopurine), GCP expand, regenerate cell walls, dedifferentiate, and divide. At 38°C, GCP acquire thermotolerance within 24 h, but their expansion is limited and they neither regenerate walls nor reenter the cell cycle. These putative indicators of auxin insensitivity led us to hypothesize that heat suppresses induction of auxin-regulated genes in GCP. Protoplasts were transformed with BA-mgfp5-ER, in which the BA auxin-responsive promoter regulates transcription of mgfp5-ER encoding thermostable green fluorescent protein (GFP) or with a similar 35S-cauliflower mosaic virus constitutive promoter construct. Heat suppressed NAA-mediated activation of BA. After 21 h at 32°C in media with NAA, 49.0% ± 3.9% of BA-mgfp5-ER transformants strongly expressed GFP; expression percentages were similar to those of 35S-mgfp5-ER transformants at 32°C or 38°C. After 21 h at 38°C in media with NAA, 7.9% ± 1.6% of BA-mgfp5-ER transformants weakly expressed GFP, similar to GCP cultured at 32°C in media lacking NAA. Expression at 38°C was not increased by incubating for 48 h or increasing NAA concentrations 20-fold. After 9 to 12 h at 38°C, BA was no longer activated when cells were transferred to 32°C. Heat-stressed cells accumulate reactive oxygen species, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) suppresses auxin-responsive promoter activation in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mesophyll protoplasts. H2O2 did not suppress BA activation at 32°C, nor did superoxide and H2O2 scavengers prevent BA suppression at 38°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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