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Plant Physiology


Plants have evolved a range of cellular responses to maintain developmental homeostasis and to survive over a range of temperatures. Here, we describe the in vivo and in vitro functions of BOBBER1 (BOB1), a NudC domain containing Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) small heat shock protein. BOB1 is an essential gene required for the normal partitioning and patterning of the apical domain of the Arabidopsis embryo. Because BOB1 loss-of-function mutants are embryo lethal, we used a partial loss-of-function allele (bob1-3) to demonstrate that BOB1 is required for organismal thermotolerance and postembryonic development. Recombinant BOB1 protein functions as a molecular chaperone and prevents the aggregation of a model protein substrate in vitro. In plants, BOB1 is cytoplasmic at basal temperatures, but forms heat shock granules containing canonical small heat shock proteins at high temperatures. In addition to thermotolerance defects, bob1-3 exhibits pleiotropic development defects during all phases of development. bob1-3 phenotypes include decreased rates of shoot and root growth as well as patterning defects in leaves, flowers, and inflorescence meristems. Most eukaryotic chaperones play important roles in protein folding either during protein synthesis or during cellular responses to denaturing stress. Our results provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence of a plant small heat shock protein that has both developmental and thermotolerance functions and may play a role in both of these folding networks.


This work has been provided to PubMed Central courtesy of the American Society of Plant Biologists.