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J Integr Plant Biol
Immediate transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis leaves to heat shock
Min Liu1†, Jiafu Zhu1, 2 †, and Zhicheng Dong1*
1Innovative Center of Molecular Genetics and Evolution, Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center, School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
2Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China

These authors contributed equally to this article.
*Correspondence: Zhicheng Dong (
doi: 10.1111/jipb.12990

Plants have evolved efficient mechanisms for adapting to temperature fluctuations, known as heat stress response and heat stress memory. Although the transcriptional regulatory network of plant heat stress response has been established, little is known about the genome‐wide transcriptional changes occurring within the first several minutes after heat shock. Here, we investigated the nascent RNA and mature messenger RNA (mRNA) from plant leaf tissues exposed to 5 min of heat shock treatment using global run‐on sequencing and RNA sequencing methods. Only a small group of genes were up‐ or downregulated at both the nascent RNA and mRNA levels. Primed plants that were already exposed to mild heat stress exhibited a more drastic alteration at multiple transcriptional steps than naïve plants that had not experienced heat stress. Upon heat shock, we also observed the following: (i) engaged RNA polymerase II accumulated downstream of transcription start sites; (ii) 5′ pausing release was a rate‐limiting step for the induction of some heat shock protein genes; (iii) numerous genes switched transcription modes; (iv) pervasive read‐through was induced at terminators; and (v) heat stress memory occurs at multiple steps of the transcription cycle, such as at Pol II recruitment, 5′ pausing, elongation, and termination.

Received: 23 April 2020      Accepted:    Online on:09 July 2020
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