Water stress responses in plants
RIKEN Plant Science Center, Japan
Tohoku University, Japan
Environmental stresses have been predicted to become more severe and widespread, and they have adverse effects on plant growth and crop productivity. Prolonged and repeated severe stresses that affect growth and development would especially cause long-lasting effects on plants with a long-term growth period, such as perennial crops and woody plants. To overcome these adverse effects, plants have evolved to adapt to and tolerate the stresses. Plant adaptive and survival mechanisms to optimize growth and development under the stresses are regulated by the integration of environmental and endogenous signals that involve cross-talk with other stress signaling mechanisms. The molecular mechanisms in stress adaptation control the stress signaling systems, such as the regulation of gene expression, ion homeostasis, redox regulation, and the production of specific metabolites in the stress responses.
For crop breeding, “drought tolerance” is an important objective to obtain plants with increased survivability and yield under stress conditions. “Water-use-efficiency” is also an important target for plant improvement under drought stress, and it defines the quality of the crop and woody plant as the ratio of biomass to total water transpired. In water stress, stomata functions are important to regulate stress tolerance and plant growth.
This research topic focuses on the study of molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress, especially water stress response, in plants in which stress signaling and ion homeostasis via phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cascades, transcriptional machinery, and membrane factors control the molecular mechanisms in plant growth and development to increase stress tolerance and affect environmental adaptation. Understanding and discussing current knowledge on these mechanisms, in depth, will provide insights into plant improvement to overcome severe environmental stress. We also aim to collect a range of study articles regarding genetic engineering to enhance plant adaptation systems and production as biomass resources under stressful conditions.