The dove tree (Davidia involucrata
Baill.), a tertiary relic species, is adapted to cool climates. With the progression of global warming, high-temperature stress has become the primary environmental factor restricting geographic distribution, ex situ conservation, and landscape application for D. involucrata
resources. However, the detailed molecular events underlying D. involucrata
responses to heat stress are poorly understood. Here, we conducted RNA-Seq-based gene expression profiling in D. involucrata
seedlings during the time course of a 42 °C heat treatment (0, 1, 6, and 12 h). After de novo assembly, we obtained 138,923 unigenes, of which 69,743 were annotated in public databases. Furthermore, 19,532, 20,497 and 27,716 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified after 1 h (HS1), 6 h (HS6), and 12 h (HS12) of heat treatment in comparison to 0 h (HS0), respectively. Based on a KEGG enrichment analysis, the two pathways “protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum” and “plant hormone signal transduction” are hypothesized to play vital roles during heat response in D. involucrata
, and their potential interactions during heat stress are also discussed. In addition, 32 genes encoding putative heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) were found to be associated with the response of D. involucrata
to heat stress. Finally, the expression patterns of eight heat-responsive genes derived from qRT-PCR were in agreement with their transcript level alterations, as determined by a transcriptome analysis. Taken together, our transcriptomic data provide the first comprehensive transcriptional profile affected by heat stress in D. involucrata
, which will facilitate further studies on the improvement of heat tolerance in this rare and endangered species.