Role of Heat Shock Proteins in Improving Heat Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants
High temperature response (HTR) or heat stress response (HSR) is a highly conserved phenomenon, which involves complex networks among different crop species. Heat stress usually results in protein dysfunction by improper folding of its linear amino acid chains to nonnative proteins. This leads to unfavourable interactions and subsequent protein aggregation. To tackle this, plants have developed molecular chaperone machinery to maintain high quality proteins in the cell. This is governed by increasing the level of preexisting molecular chaperones and by expressing additional chaperones through signalling mechanism. Dissecting the molecular mechanism by which plants counter heat stress and identification of important molecules involved are of high priority. This could help in the development of plants with improved heat stress tolerance through advanced genomics and genetic engineering approaches. Owing to this reason molecular chaperones/Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are considered as potential candidates to address the issue of heat stress. In this chapter, recent progress on systematic analyses of heat shock proteins, their classification and role in plant response to heat stress along with an overview of genomic and transgenic approaches to overcome the issue, are summarized.