Potato eukaryotic elongation factor 1A comprises multiple isoforms, some of which are heat-inducible or heat-upregulated and might be important in alleviating adverse effects of heat stress on plant productivity. Heat stress substantially reduces crop productivity worldwide, and will become more severe due to global warming. Identification of proteins involved in heat stress response may help develop varieties for heat tolerance. Eukaryotic elongation factor 1A (eEF1A) is a cytosolic, multifunctional protein that plays a central role in the elongation phase of translation. Some of the non-canonical eEF1A activities might be important in developing plant heat-stress tolerance. In this study, we investigated effects of heat stress (HS) on eEF1A expression at the protein level in potato, a highly heat vulnerable crop. Our results from both the controlled environment and the field have shown that potato eEF1A is a heat-inducible protein of 49.2-kDa with multiple isoforms (5-8). Increase in eEF1A abundance under HS can be mainly attributed to 2-3 basic polypeptides/isoforms. A significant correlation between eEF1A abundance and the potato productivity in the field was observed in two extremely hot years 2011 and 2012. Genomic Southern blot analysis indicated the existence of multiple genes encoding eEF1A in potato. Identification, isolation and utilization of heat-inducible eEF1A genes might be helpful for the development of the heat-tolerant varieties.
Keywords: Elongation factor 1 alpha; Heat stress; Multifunctional protein; Solanum tuberosum.