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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Genome-wide analysis of the Populus Hsp90 gene family reveals differential expression patterns, localization, and heat stress responses

Jin Zhang, Jianbo Li, Bobin Liu, Li Zhang, Jun Chen* and Mengzhu Lu*

Author Affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:532  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-532

Published: 5 August 2013



Members of the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) class of proteins are evolutionarily conserved molecular chaperones. They are involved in protein folding, assembly, stabilization, activation, and degradation in many normal cellular processes and under stress conditions. Unlike many other well-characterized molecular chaperones, Hsp90s play key roles in signal transduction, cell-cycle control, genomic silencing, and protein trafficking. However, no systematic analysis of genome organization, gene structure, and expression compendium has been performed in the Populus model tree genus to date.


We performed a comprehensive analysis of the Populus Hsp90 gene family and identified 10 Populus Hsp90 genes, which were phylogenetically clustered into two major groups. Gene structure and motif composition are relatively conserved in each group. In Populus trichocarpa, we identified three paralogous pairs, among which the PtHsp90-5a/PtHsp90-5b paralogous pair might be created by duplication of a genome segment. Subcellular localization analysis shows that PtHsp90 members are localized in different subcellular compartments. PtHsp90-3 is localized both in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm, PtHsp90-5a and PtHsp90-5b are in chloroplasts, and PtHsp90-7 is in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Furthermore, microarray and semi-quantitative real-time RT-PCR analyses show that a number of Populus Hsp90 genes are differentially expressed upon exposure to various stresses.


The gene structure and motif composition of PtHsp90s are highly conserved among group members, suggesting that members of the same group may also have conserved functions. Microarray and RT-PCR analyses show that most PtHsp90s were induced by various stresses, including heat stress. Collectively, these observations lay the foundation for future efforts to unravel the biological roles of PtHsp90 genes.

Expression analysis; Gene family; Gene structure; Hsp90; Phylogenetic analysis; Populus