Journal Article

Identification and characterization of an expansin gene <i>AsEXP1</i> associated with heat tolerance in C<sub>3</sub> <i>Agrostis</i> grass species

Jichen Xu, Jiang Tian, Faith C. Belanger and Bingru Huang

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 58, issue 13, pages 3789-3796
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:

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Plant tolerance of heat stress involves various changes at physiological and molecular levels. The objective of this study was to examine the expression of a gene encoding expansin protein in relation to heat tolerance in two C3 grass species and genotypes differing in heat tolerance. Heat-tolerant, thermal Agrostis scabra, adapted to high temperatures in geothermal areas in Yellowstone National Park, was subjected to 20 °C (control) or 40 °C (heat stress) for 7 d in a growth chamber. Differential display analysis identified that a gene, AsEXP1, encoding an expansin protein, was strongly up-regulated in leaves exposed to heat stress in thermal A. scabra. Virtual northern hybridization and RT-PCR confirmed that AsEXP1 was a heat-inducible gene in leaves. The expression of AsEXP1 was induced at 1 h of plant exposure to heat stress and reached the highest level of expression at 4 h of treatment. A 1.3 kb full-length cDNA of AsEXP1 was isolated, which encodes a 251 amino acid protein. Two ecotypes of thermal A. scabra and 10 genotypes of Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass), a widely used turfgrass species in cool climatic regions, varying in the level of heat tolerance, were exposed to 40 °C for 7 d to examine the level of AsEXP1 expression in relation to heat tolerance. Genetic variation in heat tolerance was evaluated by measuring cell membrane stability, photochemical efficiency, and leaf growth. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the level of AsEXP1 in different genotypes was positively correlated with the level of heat tolerance in both grass species. The results first identified a heat-related expansin gene in grass species and suggest that AsEXP1 may be useful as a molecular marker to select for heat-tolerant grass germplasm.

Keywords: Agrostis scabra; Agrostis stolonifera; high temperature; turfgrass

Journal Article.  4593 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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