J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 742-750.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00495.x

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Understanding Abiotic Stress Tolerance Mechanisms: Recent Studies on Stress Response in Rice

Ji-Ping Gao, Dai-Yin Chao and Hong-Xuan Lin   

  • Published:2007-06-05


Abiotic stress is the main factor negatively affecting crop growth and productivity worldwide. The advances in physiology, genetics, and molecular biology have greatly improved our understanding of plant responses to stresses. Rice plants are sensitive to various abiotic stresses. In this short review, we present recent progresses in adaptation of rice to salinity, water deficit and submergence. Many studies show that salt tolerance is tightly associated with the ability to maintain ion homeostasis under salinity. Na+ transporter SKC1 unloads Na+ from xylem, plasma membrane Na+/H+ antiporter SOS1 excludes sodium out of cytosol and tonoplast Na+/H+ antiporter NHX1 sequesters Na+ into the vacuole. Silicon deposition in exodermis and endodermis of rice root reduces sodium transport through the apoplastic pathway. A number of transcription factors regulate stress-inducible gene expression that leads to initiating stress responses and establishing plant stress tolerance. Overexpression of some transcription factors, including DREB/CBF and NAC, enhances salt, drought, and cold tolerance in rice. A variant of one of ERF family genes, Sub1A-1, confers immersion tolerance to lowland rice. These findings and their exploitation will hold promise for engineering breeding to protect crop plants from certain abiotic stresses.

Key words: abiotic stress, sodium transport, transcription factor, submergence tolerance, rice.

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