Journal Article

Plants Utilize Isoprene Emission as a Thermotolerance Mechanism

Kanako Sasaki, Takuya Saito, Mari Lämsä, Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, Masashi Suzuki, Kiyoshi Ohyama, Toshiya Muranaka, Kazuaki Ohara and Kazufumi Yazaki

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 48, issue 9, pages 1254-1262
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Plants Utilize Isoprene Emission as a Thermotolerance Mechanism

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Isoprene is a volatile compound emitted from leaves of many plant species in large quantities, which has an impact on atmospheric chemistry due to its massive global emission rate (5 × 1014 carbon g year−1) and its high reactivity with the OH radical, resulting in an increase in the half-life of methane. Isoprene emission is strongly induced by the increase in isoprene synthase activity in plastids at high temperature in the day time, which is regulated at its gene expression level in leaves, while the physiological meaning of isoprene emission for plants has not been clearly demonstrated. In this study, we have functionally overexpressed Populus alba isoprene synthase in Arabidopsis to observe isoprene emission from transgenic plants. A striking difference was observed when both transgenic and wild-type plants were treated with heat at 60°C for 2.5 h, i.e. transformants revealed clear heat tolerance compared with the wild type. High isoprene emission and a decrease in the leaf surface temperature were observed in transgenic plants under heat stress treatment. In contrast, neither strong light nor drought treatments showed an apparent difference. These data suggest that isoprene emission plays a crucial role in a heat protection mechanism in plants.

Keywords: Arabidopsis — Environmental stress — Isoprene — Physiological function — Populus alba — Thermotolerance

Journal Article.  6409 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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