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Phytohormones and the Regulation of Stress Tolerance in Plants: Current Status and Future Directions

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Environmental stresses, such as heavy metals, drought, radiation, salts, pesticides, temperature, etc. are major factors collectively called abiotic stresses that limit agricultural productivity. World agriculture faces many challenges such as the demand to produce 70% more food to sustain the growing ...

Environmental stresses, such as heavy metals, drought, radiation, salts, pesticides, temperature, etc. are major factors collectively called abiotic stresses that limit agricultural productivity. World agriculture faces many challenges such as the demand to produce 70% more food to sustain the growing population, but the productivity of crops is not increasing in parallel with the food demand. The lower productivity in most of the cases is attributed to various abiotic stresses. Curtailing crop losses due to various abiotic stress factors is a major area of concern to cope with the increasing food requirements. Abiotic stress factors negatively influence the survival, biomass production, and yield of staple food crops up to 70%.

Further, the ever-increasing global population is compelling scientists to seek and develop strategies to enhance food production under such adverse conditions in order to satisfy the increasing demand for food. During the last decade, much progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms related with acclimation of crop plants under abiotic stress conditions. In spite of much progress recognizing the molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress tolerance, many components of the abiotic stress-signalling network remain to be identified.

In recent years, much attention has been given to developing strategies to alleviate the adverse effects of abiotic stresses on crops in order to fulfill the food demand of an increasing population. Chemical application and agronomical crop management practices have been used to alleviate abiotic stresses with some success.

In the past decade, exogenous application of plant hormones has emerged as an alternative strategy to induce capability within plants to successfully face the detrimental situation caused by abiotic stresses. Plant hormones (also known as phytohormones) are organic substances that regulate plant growth and development. Plants produce a wide variety of hormones, including auxins, gibberellins (GA), abscisic acid (ABA), cytokinins (CKs), salicylic acid (SA), ethylene (ET), jasmonates (JAs), brassinosteroids (BRs), and peptides. Besides this, a large number of related synthetic chemical compounds are used to regulate the growth of cultivated plants, weeds, and in vitro grown plants and plant cells. Plant hormones may be part of a signal-transduction pathway, or their presence may stimulate reactions that are signal and/or causative agents for stress acclimation responses. Plant hormones as signalling molecules regulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and when moved to other locations of the plant. Studies revealed that endogenous regulations (e.g., biosynthesis, transport, redistribution, and conjugation of plant hormones) play a crucial role during the acclimation process against various abiotic stresses. Besides this, exogenous application of plant hormones has also been reported to enhance abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. During the last decade, extensive work has been carried out to understand plant hormone-mediated enhancement in abiotic stress tolerance using physiological, biochemical, genetic, molecular, and genomic approaches for crop breeding and management. Taking into account the potential significance of plant hormones in alleviating abiotic stresses, this Research Topic will deal with roles of plant hormones in regulating abiotic stresses in crop plants.

Further, there is no Research Topic, which has been suggested dealing with an emerging role of phytohormones in the regulation of stress tolerance in plants. Therefore, we assume that this topic will be a platform for leading researchers to share their research in a highly reputed journal (Frontiers in Plant Science). The Plant Physiology section of Frontiers in Plant Science is the best suited section for this Research Topic.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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