Special Issue "Addressing Abiotic Stress Responses in Plants: Emerging Biotechniques from Laboratory to the Field"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Roel C. Rabara
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Interests: functional genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, seed biology, plant genetic resources conservation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Productivity in plant agriculture largely depends on the growth margins that translate to higher and bumper yields. Plants are particularly sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations (heat, frost, and cold), water availability (flooding to no water supply), and toxicities due to sodium (salt intrusion, high salinity) and minerals (metal and metalloid), which are referred to as abiotic stresses in general. These stresses occur and are foretold to occur more often in the future due to environmental factors resulting from rapid and dramatic changes in the global climate. More so, these stresses have repercussions on the burgeoning demand of an ever-increasing global population for a secure and safe agriculture-based food supply.

As research in plant biotechnology makes advances, crops adapted to abiotic stressed environments are continually developed that can be sustainably and safely produced in environmentally-friendly agroecosystems. Through modern and novel biotechnology tools, research studies in developing broad-spectrum stress-tolerant plants adaptable to agro-ecological stressed-conditions continue to gain a foothold despite environmental uncertainties. These biotechniques include but are not limited to omics-based systems; genetic engineering and genome mapping; gene mining, cloning, and transfer and marker-assisted breeding; transgene pyramiding; and studies on physiological, molecular, and biochemical plant responses, including crosstalk among various molecular mechanisms while under abiotic stresses.

This Research Topic for a Special Issue serves as a compendium of studies about plants’ complex mechanisms involved in response to a single or combination of abiotic stresses using omics-based techniques and physiological, biochemical, molecular methods and other multisystem approaches. This issue also includes studies highlighting comparative results of laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments, as well as long-term studies on responses of field-established plants under multiple abiotic stress conditions. Original research, methods, reviews, mini-reviews, and opinion articles related to, but not exclusively limited to, the following topics below are welcome for submission.

  • Understanding the molecular bases of interaction among stresses, including physiological and biochemical expressions and systems biology approaches;
  • Establishment of experimental conditions that mimic field conditions exhibiting one, combinations of or multiple abiotic stresses;
  • Detection of processes and/or transductions of abiotic stress signals of plants as whole plant, its parts or at gene level;
  • Identification of key factors connecting abiotic stress responses and developmental processes;
  • Analyses of long-term studies on plant responses under a combination of or multiple abiotic stress field conditions;
  • Ecogeographic studies of genetic diversity of plants correlation to abiotic stress conditions.

Dr. Roel C. Rabara
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Food security
  • Abiotic stress
  • Plant biotechnology
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Genetic resources

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Genome Wide Identification and Analysis of the R2R3-MYB Transcription Factor Gene Family in the Mangrove Avicennia marina
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010123 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
Drought and salinity stress have become the major factors for crop yield loss in recent years. Drastically changing climatic conditions will only add to the adverse effects of such abiotic stresses in the future. Hence, it is necessary to conduct extensive research to [...] Read more.
Drought and salinity stress have become the major factors for crop yield loss in recent years. Drastically changing climatic conditions will only add to the adverse effects of such abiotic stresses in the future. Hence, it is necessary to conduct extensive research to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that regulate plants’ response to abiotic stress. Halophytes are plants that can grow in conditions of high salinity and are naturally resistant to a number of abiotic stresses. Avicennia marina is one such halophyte, which grows in tropical regions of the world in areas of high salinity. In this study, we have analysed the role of R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene family in response abiotic stress, as a number of transcription factors have been reported to have a definite role in stress manifestation. We identified 185 R2R3 MYB genes at genome-wide level in A. marina and classified them based on the presence of conserved motifs in the protein sequences. Cis-regulatory elements (CREs) present in the promoter region of these genes were analysed to identify stress responsive elements. Comparative homology with genes from other plants provided an insight into the evolutionary changes in the A. marinaR2R3 MYB genes. In silico expression analysis revealed 34 AmR2R3 MYB genes that were differentially regulated in the leaves and root tissue of A. marina subjected to drought and salinity stress. This study is the first report of the R2R3 MYB gene family in the A. marina genome and will help in selecting candidates for further functional characterisation. Full article
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Article
Genome-Wide Expression and Alternative Splicing in Domesticated Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) under Flooding Stress
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010092 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1156
Abstract
Approximately 10% of agricultural land is subject to periodic flooding, which reduces the growth, survivorship, and yield of most crops, reinforcing the need to understand and enhance flooding resistance in our crops. Here, we generated RNA-Seq data from leaf and root tissue of [...] Read more.
Approximately 10% of agricultural land is subject to periodic flooding, which reduces the growth, survivorship, and yield of most crops, reinforcing the need to understand and enhance flooding resistance in our crops. Here, we generated RNA-Seq data from leaf and root tissue of domesticated sunflower to explore differences in gene expression and alternative splicing (AS) between a resistant and susceptible cultivar under both flooding and control conditions and at three time points. Using a combination of mixed model and gene co-expression analyses, we were able to separate general responses of sunflower to flooding stress from those that contribute to the greater tolerance of the resistant line. Both cultivars responded to flooding stress by upregulating expression levels of known submergence responsive genes, such as alcohol dehydrogenases, and slowing metabolism-related activities. Differential AS reinforced expression differences, with reduced AS frequencies typically observed for genes with upregulated expression. Significant differences were found between the genotypes, including earlier and stronger upregulation of the alcohol fermentation pathway and a more rapid return to pre-flooding gene expression levels in the resistant genotype. Our results show how changes in the timing of gene expression following both the induction of flooding and release from flooding stress contribute to increased flooding tolerance. Full article
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Article
Aluminum-Specific Upregulation of GmALS3 in the Shoots of Soybeans: A Potential Biomarker for Managing Soybean Production in Acidic Soil Regions
Agronomy 2020, 10(9), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10091228 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Aluminum (Al) toxicity in acidic soils is a global agricultural problem that limits crop productivity through the inhibition of root growth. However, poor management associated with the application of soil acidity amendments such as lime (CaCO3) in certain crop types can [...] Read more.
Aluminum (Al) toxicity in acidic soils is a global agricultural problem that limits crop productivity through the inhibition of root growth. However, poor management associated with the application of soil acidity amendments such as lime (CaCO3) in certain crop types can pose a threat to low-input farming practices. Accordingly, it is important to develop appropriate techniques for the management of crop production in acidic soils. In this study, we identified ALS3 (ALUMINUM SENSITIVE 3) in soybeans (Glycine max, cultivar Toyomasari), which is highly expressed in the shoot under Al stress. GmALS3 (Glyma.10G047100) expression was found to be Al-specific under various stress conditions. We analyzed GmALS3 expression in the shoots of soybean plants grown in two different types of acidic soils (artificial and natural acidic soil) with different levels of liming and found that GmALS3 expression was suppressed with levels of liming that have been shown to eliminate soil Al3+ toxicity. Using soybeans as a model, we identified a potential biomarker that could indicate Al toxicity and appropriate liming levels for soybeans cultivated in acidic soils. Full article
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Article
Adaptation to Water and Salt Stresses of Solanum pimpinellifolium and Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081169 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1676
Abstract
Solanum pimpinellifolium and Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme represent a valuable tool for tomato breeding, particularly for tolerance to abiotic stresses. Water stress and salinity are major constraints to tomato’s cultivation, and for which limited genetic variability has been reported within the cultivated species. [...] Read more.
Solanum pimpinellifolium and Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme represent a valuable tool for tomato breeding, particularly for tolerance to abiotic stresses. Water stress and salinity are major constraints to tomato’s cultivation, and for which limited genetic variability has been reported within the cultivated species. We evaluated four accessions of S. pimpinellifolium and four of S. l. var. cerasiforme for their adaptation to water deficit and salinity. The CO2 assimilation rate, stomatal conductance, substomatal CO2 concentration, transpiration rate, and leaf chlorophyll concentration were evaluated, as well as morphological and agronomic traits. The accessions showed a remarkable inter- and intra-species response variability to both stresses. Two S. pimpinellifolium accessions and one S. l. var. cerasiforme showed unaltered physiological parameters, thus indicating a good adaptation to water deficit. Two S. l. var. cerasiforme accessions showed an interesting performance under salt stress, one of which showing also good adaptation to water stress. In general, both stresses showed a negative impact on leaf size and fruit fresh weight, especially in the big-sized fruits. However, flowering, fruit setting and earliness remained unaltered or even improved when compared to control conditions. Stressed plants yielded fruits with higher ° Brix. Response to stresses seemed to be linked to origin environmental conditions, notwithstanding, variability was observed among accessions of the same region. Full article
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