Distinct heat shock factors and chromatin modifications mediate the organ-autonomous transcriptional memory of heat stressPlants can be primed by a stress cue to mount a faster or stronger activation of defense mechanisms upon a subsequent stress. A crucial component of such stress priming is the modified reactivation of genes upon recurring stress; however, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we report that dozens of Arabidopsis thaliana genes display transcriptional memory, i.e. stronger upregulation after a recurring heat stress, that lasts for at least three days. We define a set of transcription factors involved in this memory response and show that the transcriptional memory results in enhanced transcriptional activation within minutes after the onset of a heat stress cue. Further, we show that the transcriptional memory is active in all tissues. It may last for up to a week, and is associated with histone H3 lysine 4 hyper-methylation during this time. This transcriptional memory is cis-encoded, as we identify a promoter fragment that confers memory onto a heterologous gene. In summary, heat-induced transcriptional memory is a widespread and sustained response, and our study provides a framework for future mechanistic studies of somatic stress memory in higher plants.
Co-researchers:Hsiang-chin Liu, Jörn Lämke, Siou-ying Lin, Meng-Ju Hung, Kuan-Ming Liu, Isabel Bäurle