Heteromeric HSFA2/HSFA3 complexes drive transcriptional memory after heat stress in Arabidopsis

Thomas Friedrich, Vicky Oberkofler, Inês Trindade, Simone Altmann, Krzysztof Brzezinka, Jörn Lämke, Michal Gorka, Christian Kappel, Ewelina Sokolowska, Aleksandra Skirycz, Alexander Graf, Isabel Bäurle (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Adaptive plasticity in stress responses is a key element of plant survival strategies. For instance, moderate heat stress (HS) primes a plant to acquire thermotolerance, which allows subsequent survival of more severe HS conditions. Acquired thermotolerance is actively maintained over several days (HS memory) and involves the sustained induction of memory-related genes. Here we show that FORGETTER3/ HEAT SHOCK TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR A3 (FGT3/HSFA3) is specifically required for physiological HS memory and maintaining high memory-gene expression during the days following a HS exposure. HSFA3 mediates HS memory by direct transcriptional activation of memory-related genes after return to normal growth temperatures. HSFA3 binds HSFA2, and in vivo both proteins form heteromeric complexes with additional HSFs. Our results indicate that only complexes containing both HSFA2 and HSFA3 efficiently promote transcriptional memory by positively influencing histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) hyper-methylation. In summary, our work defines the major HSF complex controlling transcriptional memory and elucidates the in vivo dynamics of HSF complexes during somatic stress memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3426
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021


  • Epigenetics
  • Heat
  • Plant molecular biology
  • Plant stress responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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