Synthesis of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in response to heat shock (HS) is essential for thermotolerance. The effect of a Ca2+ chelator, EGTA, was investigated before a lethal HS treatment in soybean (Glycine max) seedlings with acquired thermotolerance induced by preheating. Such seedlings became non-thermotolerant with EGTA treatment. The addition of Ca2+, Sr2+ or Ba2+ to the EGTA-treated samples rescued the seedlings from death by preventing the increased cellular leakage of electrolytes, amino acids, and sugars caused by EGTA. It was confirmed that EGTA did not affect HSP accumulation and physiological functions but interfered with the recovery of HS-released Ca2+ concentration which was required for thermotolerance. Pectin methylesterase (PME, EC 126.96.36.199), a cell wall remodelling enzyme, was activated in response to HS, and its elevated activity caused an increased level of demethylesterified pectin which was related to the recovery of the HS-released Ca2+ concentration. Thus, the recovery of HS-released Ca2+ in Ca2+-pectate reconstitution through PME activity is required for cell wall remodelling during HS in soybean which, in turn, retains plasma membrane integrity and co-ordinates with HSPs to confer thermotolerance.