Cereal productivity is reduced by environmental stresses such as drought, heat, elevated CO2
, salinity, metal toxicity and cold. Sometimes, plants are exposed to multiple stresses simultaneously. Plants must be able to make a rapid and adequate response to these environmental stimuli in order to restore their growing ability. The latest research has shown that aquaporins are important players in maintaining cell homeostasis under abiotic stress. Aquaporins are membrane intrinsic proteins (MIP) that form pores in the cellular membranes, which facilitate the movement of water and many other molecules such as ammonia, urea, CO2
, micronutrients (silicon and boron), glycerol and reactive oxygen species (hydrogen peroxide) across the cell and intercellular compartments. The present review primarily focuses on the diversity of aquaporins in cereal species, their cellular and subcellular localisation, their expression and their functioning under abiotic stresses. Lastly, this review discusses the potential use of mutants and plants that overexpress the aquaporin-encoding genes to improve their tolerance to abiotic stress.
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