Selective autophagy regulates heat stress memory in Arabidopsis by NBR1-mediated targeting of HSP90.1 and ROF1

Autophagy. 2021 Sep;17(9):2184-2199. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2020.1820778. Epub 2020 Sep 24.


In nature, plants are constantly exposed to many transient, but recurring, stresses. Thus, to complete their life cycles, plants require a dynamic balance between capacities to recover following cessation of stress and maintenance of stress memory. Recently, we uncovered a new functional role for macroautophagy/autophagy in regulating recovery from heat stress (HS) and resetting cellular memory of HS in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we demonstrated that NBR1 (next to BRCA1 gene 1) plays a crucial role as a receptor for selective autophagy during recovery from HS. Immunoblot analysis and confocal microscopy revealed that levels of the NBR1 protein, NBR1-labeled puncta, and NBR1 activity are all higher during the HS recovery phase than before. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis of proteins interacting with NBR1 and comparative proteomic analysis of an nbr1-null mutant and wild-type plants identified 58 proteins as potential novel targets of NBR1. Cellular, biochemical and functional genetic studies confirmed that NBR1 interacts with HSP90.1 (heat shock protein 90.1) and ROF1 (rotamase FKBP 1), a member of the FKBP family, and mediates their degradation by autophagy, which represses the response to HS by attenuating the expression of HSP genes regulated by the HSFA2 transcription factor. Accordingly, loss-of-function mutation of NBR1 resulted in a stronger HS memory phenotype. Together, our results provide new insights into the mechanistic principles by which autophagy regulates plant response to recurrent HS.Abbreviations: AIM: Atg8-interacting motif; ATG: autophagy-related; BiFC: bimolecular fluorescence complementation; ConA: concanamycinA; CoIP: co-immunoprecipitation; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; FKBP: FK506-binding protein; FBPASE: fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase; GFP: green fluorescent protein; HS: heat stress; HSF: heat shock factor; HSFA2: heat shock factor A2; HSP: heat shock protein; HSP90: heat shock protein 90; LC-MS/MS: Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; 3-MA: 3-methyladenine; NBR1: next-to-BRCA1; PQC: protein quality control; RFP: red fluorescent protein; ROF1: rotamase FKBP1; TF: transcription factor; TUB: tubulin; UBA: ubiquitin-associated; YFP: yellow fluorescent protein.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; HSFA2; HSP90.1; NBR1; ROF1; heat stress; selective autophagy; stress memory; stress recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins* / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins* / genetics
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins* / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Macroautophagy
  • Proteomics
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins* / genetics
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins* / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hsp90-1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • NBR1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • ROF1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins