Skip to main content


Genes for Plant Abiotic Stress

Matthew A. Jenks (Editor), Andrew J. Wood (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-813-80906-9 September 2009 Wiley-Blackwell 320 Pages


Abiotic stresses caused by drought, salinity, toxic metals, temperature extremes, and nutrient poor soils are among the major constraints to plant growth and crop production worldwide. While crop breeding strategies to improve yields have progressed, a better understanding of the genetic and biological mechanisms underpinning stress adaptation is needed. Genes For Plant Abiotic Stress presents the latest research on recently examined genes and alleles and guides discussion of the genetic and physiological determinants that will be important for crop improvement in the future.

Contributors ix

Preface xiii

Section 1 Genetic Determinants of Plant Adaptation under Water Stress 3

Chapter 1 Genetic Determinants of Stomatal Function 5
Song Li and Sarah M. Assmann

Introduction 5

Arabidopsis as a Model System 7

How Do Stomates Sense Drought Stress? 7

Signaling Events inside Guard Cells in Response to Drought 11

Cell Signaling Mutants with Altered Stomatal Responses 15

Transcriptional Regulation in Stomatal Drought Response 22

Summary 24

References 25

Chapter 2 Pathways and Genetic Determinants for Cell Wall–based Osmotic Stress Tolerance in the Arabidopsis thaliana Root System 35
Hisashi Koiwa

Introduction 35

Genes That Affect the Cell Wall and Plant Stress Tolerance 35

Genes and Proteins in Cellulose Biosynthesis 36

Pathways Involved in N-glycosylation and N-glycan Modifications 38

Dolichol Biosynthesis 38

Sugar-nucleotide Biosynthesis 39

Assembly of Core Oligosaccharide 40

Oligosaccharyltransferase 40

Processing of Core Oligosaccharides in the ER 42

Unfolded Protein Response and Osmotic Stress Signaling 42

N-glycan Re-glycosylation and ER-associated Protein Degradation 44

N-glycan Modification in the Golgi Apparatus 44

Ascorbate as an Interface between the N-glycosylation Pathway and Oxidative Stress Response 46

Biosynthesis of GPI Anchor 46

Microtubules 47

Conclusion 48

References 49

Chapter 3 Transcription and Signaling Factors in the Drought Response Regulatory Network 55
Matthew Geisler

Introduction 55

Drought Stress Perception 55

Systems Biology Approaches 56

Transcriptomic Studies of Drought Stress 63

The DREB/CBF Regulon 66

ABA Signaling 71

Reactive Oxygen Signaling 72

Integration of Stress Regulatory Networks 72

Assembling the Known Pathways and Expanding Using Gene Expression Networks’ Predicted Protein Interactions 74

Acknowledgments 75

References 75

Section 2 Genes for Crop Adaptation to Poor Soil 81

Chapter 4 Genetic Determinants of Salinity Tolerance in Crop Plants 83
Darren Plett, Bettina Berger, and Mark Tester

Introduction 83

Salinity Tolerance 85

Conclusion 100

References 100

Chapter 5 Unraveling the Mechanisms Underlying Aluminum-dependent Root Growth Inhibition 113
Paul B. Larsen

Introduction 113

Mechanisms of Aluminum Toxicity 114

Aluminum Resistance Mechanisms 117

Aluminum Tolerance Mechanisms 120

Arabidopsis as a Model System for Aluminum Resistance, Tolerance, and Toxicity 121

Aluminum-sensitive Arabidopsis Mutants 121

The Role of ALS3 in A1 Tolerance 122

ALS1 Encodes a Half-type ABC Transporter Required for Aluminum Tolerance 126

Other Arabidopsis Factors Required for Aluminum Resistance/Tolerance 128

Identification of Aluminum-tolerant Mutants in Arabidopsis 129

The Nature of the alt1 Mutations 132

Conclusions 138

References 138

Chapter 6 Genetic Determinants of Phosphate Use Effi ciency in Crops 143
Fulgencio Alatorre-Cobos, Damar López-Arredondo, and Luis Herrera-Estrella

Introduction 143

Why Improve Crop Nutrition and the Relationship with World Food Security? 143

Phosphorus and Crops: Phosphorus as an Essential Nutrient and Its Supply as a Key Component to Crop Yield 144

Phosphorus and Plant Metabolism: Regulatory and Structural Functions 145

Phosphate Starvation: Adaptations to Phosphate Starvation and Current Knowledge about Phosphate Sensing and Signaling Networks during Phosphate Stress 146

Nutrient Use Efficiency 150

Genetic Determinants for the Phosphate Acquisition 150

Genetic Determinants for Pi Acquisition by Modulating Root System Architecture 153

Genetic Determinants Involved with Phosphorus Utilization Efficiency 155

Genetic Engineering to Improve the Phosphate Use Efficiency 156

Conclusions 158

References 158

Chapter 7 Genes for Use in Improving Nitrate Use Efficiency in Crops 167
David A. Lightfoot

Introduction 167

The Two Forms of NUE: Regulation of Nitrogen Partitioning and Yield in Crops 169

Mutants as Tools to Isolate Important Plant Genes 169

Transcript Analysis 174

Metanomic Tools for Extending Functional Genomics 174

Transgenics Lacking A Priori Evidence for NUE 175

Microbial Activity 176

Nodule Effects and Mycorrhizal Effects 178

Water Effects 178

Conclusions 178

References 179

Section 3 Genes for Plant Tolerance to Temperature Extremes 183

Chapter 8 Genes and Gene Regulation for Low-temperature Tolerance 185
Mantas Survila, Pekka Heino, and E. Tapio Palva

Introduction 185

Protective Mechanisms Induced during Cold Acclimation 188

Regulation of Gene Expression 192

Cross Talk between Abiotic and Biotic Stress Responses 207

Conclusions and Future Perspectives 207

Acknowledgments 209

References 209

Chapter 9 Genetic Approaches toward Improving Heat Tolerance in Plants 221
Mamatha Hanumappa and Henry T. Nguyen

Introduction 221

Thermotolerance 221

High Temperature Impact and Plant Response to Heat Stress 223

Mechanism of Heat Tolerance in Plants 230

Genetic Approaches to Improve Heat Tolerance in Crops 235

The Effect of Stress Combination 244

Evolving Techniques 246

Conclusion and Perspectives 247

References 247

Section 4 Integrating Plant Abiotic Stress Responses 261

Chapter 10 Genetic Networks Underlying Plant Abiotic Stress Responses 263
Arjun Krishnan, Madana M.R. Ambavaram, Amal Harb, Utlwang Batlang, Peter E. Wittich, and Andy Pereira

Introduction 263

Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses 264

Transcriptome Analysis of Abiotic Stress Responses 270

Gene Network of Universal Abiotic Stress Response 274

Conclusions 276

References 276

Chapter 11 Discovering Genes for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants 281
Michael Popelka, Mitchell Tuinstra, and Clifford F. Weil

Introduction 281

Salt Stress 286

Heat Stress 287

Oxidative Stress 288

Nutrient/Mineral Stress 289

Plant Architecture and Morphology 290

Evolutionary Conservation and Gene Discovery 291

Conclusion 292

References 292

Index 303

  • Highlights key genes that can be manipulated to develop stress resistance in crops
  • Covers the spectrum of major abiotic stresses ranging from temperature and water stress to poor soil conditions
  • Coalesces current knowledge and provides direction for future research
  • Features chapters from leading experts worldwide