Arabidopsis and the heat stress transcription factor world: how many heat stress transcription factors do we need?

Cell Stress Chaperones. 2001 Jul;6(3):177-89. doi: 10.1379/1466-1268(2001)006<0177:aathst>;2.


Sequencing of the Arabidopsis genome revealed a unique complexity of the plant heat stress transcription factor (Hsf) family. By structural characteristics and phylogenetic comparison, the 21 representatives are assigned to 3 classes and 14 groups. Particularly striking is the finding of a new class of Hsfs (AtHsfC1) closely related to Hsf1 from rice and to Hsfs identified from frequently found expressed sequence tags of tomato, potato, barley, and soybean. Evidently, this new type of Hsf is well expressed in different plant tissues. Besides the DNA binding and oligomerization domains (HR-A/B region), we identified other functional modules of Arabidopsis Hsfs by sequence comparison with the well-characterized tomato Hsfs. These are putative motifs for nuclear import and export and transcriptional activation (AHA motifs). There is intriguing flexibility of size and sequence in certain parts of the otherwise strongly conserved N-terminal half of these Hsfs. We have speculated about possible exon-intron borders in this region in the ancient precursor gene of plant Hsfs, similar to the exon-intron structure of the present mammalian Hsf-encoding genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat Stress Disorders*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HSF1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors