Heat-shock transcription factors (Hsfs) play a pivotal role in the response of plants to various stresses. The present study aimed to characterize the Hsf
genes in the rubber tree, a primary global source of natural rubber. In this study, 30 Hsf
genes were identified in the rubber tree using genome-wide analysis. They possessed a structurally conserved DNA-binding domain and an oligomerization domain. On the basis of the length of the insert region between HR-A and HR-B in the oligomerization domain, the 30 members were clustered into three classes, Classes A (18), B (10), and C (2). Members within the same class shared highly conserved gene structures and protein motifs. The background expression levels of 11 genes in cold-tolerant rubber-tree clone 93-14 were significantly higher than those in cold-sensitive rubber-tree clone Reken501, while four genes exhibited inverse expression patterns. Upon cold stress, 20 genes were significantly upregulated in 93-114. Of the upregulated genes, HbHsfA2b
, and HbHsfA7a
were also significantly upregulated in three other cold-tolerant rubber-tree clones at one or more time intervals upon cold stress. Their nuclear localization was verified, and the protein–protein interaction network was predicted. This study provides a basis for dissecting Hsf
function in the enhanced cold tolerance of the rubber tree.
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