Plants utilize isoprene emission as a thermotolerance mechanism

K. Sasaki, T. Saito, Mari Lämsä, Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, M. Suzuki, K. Ohyama, T. Muranaka, K. Ohara, K. Yazaki (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    84 Citations (Scopus)


    Isoprene is a volatile compound emitted from leaves of many plant species in large quantities, which has an impact on atmospheric chemistry due to its massive global emission rate (5 × 1014 carbon g year−1) and its high reactivity with the OH radical, resulting in an increase in the half-life of methane.
    Isoprene emission is strongly induced by the increase in isoprene synthase activity in plastids at high temperature in the day time, which is regulated at its gene expression level in leaves, while the physiological meaning of isoprene emission for plants has not been clearly demonstrated. In this study, we have functionally overexpressed Populus alba isoprene synthase in Arabidopsis to observe isoprene emission from transgenic plants.
    A striking difference was observed when both transgenic and wild-type plants were treated with heat at 60°C for 2.5 h, i.e. transformants revealed clear heat tolerance compared with the wild type.
    High isoprene emission and a decrease in the leaf surface temperature were observed in transgenic plants under heat stress treatment. In contrast, neither strong light nor drought treatments showed an apparent difference.
    These data suggest that isoprene emission plays a crucial role in a heat protection mechanism in plants.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1254-1262
    JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Arabidopsis
    • environmental stress
    • isoprene
    • physiological function
    • Populus alba
    • thermotolerance


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