Heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) are known to play dominant roles in plant responses to heat, as well as other abiotic or biotic stress stimuli. While the strawberry is an economically important fruit plant, little is known about the Hsf family in the strawberry. To explore the functions of strawberry Hsfs in abiotic and biotic stress responses, this study identified 17 Hsf genes (FvHsfs) in a wild diploid woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca, 2n = 2x = 14) and isolated 14 of these genes. Phylogenetic analysis divided the strawberry FvHsfs genes into three main groups. The evolutionary and structural analyses revealed that the FvHsf family is conserved. The promoter sequences of the FvHsf genes contain upstream regulatory elements corresponding to different stress stimuli. In addition, 14 FvHsf-GFP fusion proteins showed differential subcellular localization in Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplasts. Furthermore, we examined the expression of the 17 FvHsf genes in wild diploid woodland strawberries under various conditions, including abiotic stresses (heat, cold, drought, and salt), biotic stress (powdery mildew infection), and hormone treatments (abscisic acid, ethephon, methyl jasmonate, and salicylic acid). Fifteen of the seventeen FvHsf genes exhibited distinct changes on the transcriptional level during heat treatment. Of these 15 FvHsfs, 8 FvHsfs also exhibited distinct responses to other stimuli on the transcriptional level, indicating versatile roles in the response to abiotic and biotic stresses. Taken together, the present work may provide the basis for further studies to dissect FvHsf function in response to stress stimuli.
Keywords: abiotic stress; expression analysis; heat shock transcription factor; heat stress; phytohormones; strawberry (Fragaria vesca); subcellular localization.