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Special Issue "Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Aroca

Departamento de Microbiología del Suelo y Sistemas Simbióticos, Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ-CSIC), Profesor Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: aquaporins; drought; ethylene; jasmonates; mycorrhizal symbiosis; PGPRs; root hydraulic conductivity; salinity; water relations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Drought episodes are increasing in duration and intensity around the globe because of global climate change. Since plants are sessile organisms, they need plasticity mechanisms to cope with drought periods. These mechanisms vary between annual and perennial plants and may include evolutionary adaptations, as well as rapid molecular changes. This Special Issue is focused on how plants tolerate drought stress regarding anatomical, morphological, physiological and molecular mechanisms in any kind of plant. At the same time, responses can be local or systemic, at the cellular, organ or whole plant levels. Manuscripts should involve new approaches or findings that cause a significant advance in our knowledge of how plants tolerate drought stress.

Prof. Ricardo Aroca
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Gene regulation
  • Metabolism
  • Osmotic adjustment
  • Plant hormones
  • Plant plasticity
  • Plant signaling
  • Photosynthesis
  • Water relations

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Physiological and Proteomic Responses of Mulberry Trees (Morus alba. L.) to Combined Salt and Drought Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102486 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Intensive investigations have been conducted on the effect of sole drought or salinity stress on the growth of plants. However, there is relatively little knowledge on how plants, particularly woody species, respond to a combination of these two stresses although these stresses can [...] Read more.
Intensive investigations have been conducted on the effect of sole drought or salinity stress on the growth of plants. However, there is relatively little knowledge on how plants, particularly woody species, respond to a combination of these two stresses although these stresses can simultaneously occur in the field. In this study, mulberry, an economically important resource for traditional medicine, and the sole food of domesticated silkworms was subjected to a combination of salt and drought stress and analyzed by physiological methods and TMT-based proteomics. Stressed mulberry exhibited significant alteration in physiological parameters, including root/shoot ratio, chlorophyll fluorescence, total carbon, and ion reallocation. A total of 577 and 270 differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were identified from the stressed leaves and roots, respectively. Through KEGG analysis, these DEPs were assigned to multiple pathways, including carbon metabolism, photosynthesis, redox, secondary metabolism, and hormone metabolism. Among these pathways, the sucrose related metabolic pathway was distinctly enriched in both stressed leaves and roots, indicating an important contribution in mulberry under stress condition. The results provide a comprehensive understanding of the adaptive mechanism of mulberry in response to salt and drought stress, which will facilitate further studies on innovations in terms of crop performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
The Kinase CIPK11 Functions as a Negative Regulator in Drought Stress Response in Arabidopsis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102422
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Drought is a major limiting factor for plant growth and crop productivity. Many Calcineurin B-like interacting protein kinases (CIPKs) play crucial roles in plant adaptation to environmental stresses. It is particularly essential to find the phosphorylation targets of CIPKs and to study the [...] Read more.
Drought is a major limiting factor for plant growth and crop productivity. Many Calcineurin B-like interacting protein kinases (CIPKs) play crucial roles in plant adaptation to environmental stresses. It is particularly essential to find the phosphorylation targets of CIPKs and to study the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we demonstrate that CIPK11 acts as a novel component to modulate drought stress in plants. The overexpression of CIPK11 (CIPK11OE) in Arabidopsis resulted in the decreased tolerance of plant to drought stress. When compared to wild type plants, CIPK11OE plants exhibited higher leaf water loss and higher content of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after drought treatment. Additionally, a yeast two hybrid screening assay by using CIPK11 as a bait captures Di19-3, a Cys2/His2-type zinc-finger transcription factor that is involved in drought stress, as a new interactor of CIPK11. Biochemical analysis revealed that CIPK11 interacted with Di19-3 in vivo and it was capable of phosphorylating Di19-3 in vitro. Genetic studies revealed that the function of CIPK11 in regulating drought stress was dependent on Di19-3. The transcripts of stress responsive genes, such as RAB18, RD29A, RD29B, and DREB2A were down-regulated in the CIPK11OE plants. Whereas overexpression of CIPK11 in di19-3 mutant background, expression levels of those marker genes were not significantly altered. Taken together, our results demonstrate that CIPK11 partly mediates the drought stress response by regulating the transcription factor Di19-3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Deficit Elicits a Transcriptional Response of Genes Governing d-pinitol Biosynthesis in Soybean (Glycine max)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102411
Received: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
d-pinitol is the most commonly accumulated sugar alcohol in the Leguminosae family and has been observed to increase significantly in response to abiotic stress. While previous studies have identified genes involved in d-pinitol synthesis, no study has investigated transcript expression in [...] Read more.
d-pinitol is the most commonly accumulated sugar alcohol in the Leguminosae family and has been observed to increase significantly in response to abiotic stress. While previous studies have identified genes involved in d-pinitol synthesis, no study has investigated transcript expression in planta. The present study quantified the expression of several genes involved in d-pinitol synthesis in different plant tissues and investigated the accumulation of d-pinitol, myo-inositol and other metabolites in response to a progressive soil drought in soybean (Glycine max). Expression of myo-inositol 1-phosphate synthase (INPS), the gene responsible for the conversion of glucose-6-phosphate to myo-inositol-1-phosphate, was significantly up regulated in response to a water deficit for the first two sampling weeks. Expression of myo-inositol O-methyl transferase (IMT1), the gene responsible for the conversion of myo-inositol into d-ononitol was only up regulated in stems at sampling week 3. Assessment of metabolites showed significant changes in their concentration in leaves and stems. d-Pinitol concentration was significantly higher in all organs sampled from water deficit plants for all three sampling weeks. In contrast, myo-inositol, had significantly lower concentrations in leaf samples despite up regulation of INPS suggesting the transcriptionally regulated flux of carbon through the myo-inositol pool is important during water deficit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Thermography to Confirm Genotypic Variation for Drought Response in Maize
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092273
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
The feasibility of thermography as a technique for plant screening aiming at drought-tolerance has been proven by its relationship with gas exchange, biomass, and yield. In this study, unlike most of the previous, thermography was applied for phenotyping contrasting maize genotypes whose classification [...] Read more.
The feasibility of thermography as a technique for plant screening aiming at drought-tolerance has been proven by its relationship with gas exchange, biomass, and yield. In this study, unlike most of the previous, thermography was applied for phenotyping contrasting maize genotypes whose classification for drought tolerance had already been established in the field. Our objective was to determine whether thermography-based classification would discriminate the maize genotypes in a similar way as the field selection in which just grain yield was taken into account as a criterion. We evaluated gas exchange, daily water consumption, leaf relative water content, aboveground biomass, and grain yield. Indeed, the screening of maize genotypes based on canopy temperature showed similar results to traditional methods. Nevertheless, canopy temperature only partially reflected gas exchange rates and daily water consumption in plants under drought. Part of the explanation may lie in the changes that drought had caused in plant leaves and canopy structure, altering absorption and dissipation of energy, photosynthesis, transpiration, and partitioning rates. Accordingly, although there was a negative relationship between grain yield and plant canopy temperature, it does not necessarily mean that plants whose canopies were maintained cooler under drought achieved the highest yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptional and Metabolomic Analyses Indicate that Cell Wall Properties are Associated with Drought Tolerance in Brachypodium distachyon
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071758
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Brachypodium distachyon is an established model for drought tolerance. We previously identified accessions exhibiting high tolerance, susceptibility and intermediate tolerance to drought; respectively, ABR8, KOZ1 and ABR4. Transcriptomics and metabolomic approaches were used to define tolerance mechanisms. Transcriptional analyses suggested relatively few drought [...] Read more.
Brachypodium distachyon is an established model for drought tolerance. We previously identified accessions exhibiting high tolerance, susceptibility and intermediate tolerance to drought; respectively, ABR8, KOZ1 and ABR4. Transcriptomics and metabolomic approaches were used to define tolerance mechanisms. Transcriptional analyses suggested relatively few drought responsive genes in ABR8 compared to KOZ1. Linking these to gene ontology (GO) terms indicated enrichment for “regulated stress response”, “plant cell wall” and “oxidative stress” associated genes. Further, tolerance correlated with pre-existing differences in cell wall-associated gene expression including glycoside hydrolases, pectin methylesterases, expansins and a pectin acetylesterase. Metabolomic assessments of the same samples also indicated few significant changes in ABR8 with drought. Instead, pre-existing differences in the cell wall-associated metabolites correlated with drought tolerance. Although other features, e.g., jasmonate signaling were suggested in our study, cell wall-focused events appeared to be predominant. Our data suggests two different modes through which the cell wall could confer drought tolerance: (i) An active response mode linked to stress induced changes in cell wall features, and (ii) an intrinsic mode where innate differences in cell wall composition and architecture are important. Both modes seem to contribute to ABR8 drought tolerance. Identification of the exact mechanisms through which the cell wall confers drought tolerance will be important in order to inform development of drought tolerant crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Key Maize Drought-Responsive Genes and Pathways Revealed by Comparative Transcriptome and Physiological Analyses of Contrasting Inbred Lines
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061268
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
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Abstract
To unravel the molecular mechanisms underpinning maize (Zea mays L.) drought stress tolerance, we conducted comprehensive comparative transcriptome and physiological analyses of drought-tolerant YE8112 and drought-sensitive MO17 inbred line seedlings that had been exposed to drought treatment for seven days. Resultantly, YE8112 [...] Read more.
To unravel the molecular mechanisms underpinning maize (Zea mays L.) drought stress tolerance, we conducted comprehensive comparative transcriptome and physiological analyses of drought-tolerant YE8112 and drought-sensitive MO17 inbred line seedlings that had been exposed to drought treatment for seven days. Resultantly, YE8112 seedlings maintained comparatively higher leaf relative water and proline contents, greatly increased peroxidase activity, but decreased malondialdehyde content, than MO17 seedlings. Using an RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)-based approach, we identified a total of 10,612 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). From these, we mined out four critical sets of drought responsive DEGs, including 80 specific to YE8112, 5140 shared between the two lines after drought treatment (SD_TD), five DEGs of YE8112 also regulated in SD_TD, and four overlapping DEGs between the two lines. Drought-stressed YE8112 DEGs were primarily associated with nitrogen metabolism and amino-acid biosynthesis pathways, whereas MO17 DEGs were enriched in the ribosome pathway. Additionally, our physiological analyses results were consistent with the predicted RNA-seq-based findings. Furthermore, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis and the RNA-seq results of twenty representative DEGs were highly correlated (R2 = 98.86%). Crucially, tolerant line YE8112 drought-responsive genes were predominantly implicated in stress signal transduction; cellular redox homeostasis maintenance; MYB, NAC, WRKY, and PLATZ transcriptional factor modulated; carbohydrate synthesis and cell-wall remodeling; amino acid biosynthesis; and protein ubiquitination processes. Our findings offer insights into the molecular networks mediating maize drought stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Tibetan Wild Barley Genotypes to Drought Stress and Identification of Quantitative Trait Loci by Genome-Wide Association Analysis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030791
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Tibetan wild barley has been identified to show large genetic variation and stress tolerance. A genome-wide association (GWA) analysis was performed to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for drought tolerance using 777 Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers and morphological and physiological traits of [...] Read more.
Tibetan wild barley has been identified to show large genetic variation and stress tolerance. A genome-wide association (GWA) analysis was performed to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for drought tolerance using 777 Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers and morphological and physiological traits of 166 Tibetan wild barley accessions in both hydroponic and pot experiments. Large genotypic variation for these traits was found; and population structure and kinship analysis identified three subpopulations among these barley genotypes. The average LD (linkage disequilibrium) decay distance was 5.16 cM, with the minimum on 6H (0.03 cM) and the maximum on 4H (23.48 cM). A total of 91 DArT markers were identified to be associated with drought tolerance-related traits, with 33, 26, 16, 1, 3, and 12 associations for morphological traits, H+K+-ATPase activity, antioxidant enzyme activities, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, soluble protein content, and potassium concentration, respectively. Furthermore, 7 and 24 putative candidate genes were identified based on the reference Meta-QTL map and by searching the Barleymap. The present study implicated that Tibetan annual wild barley from Qinghai–Tibet Plateau is rich in genetic variation for drought stress. The QTLs detected by genome-wide association analysis could be used in marker-assisting breeding for drought-tolerant barley genotypes and provide useful information for discovery and functional analysis of key genes in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Circadian Regulation of Alternative Splicing of Drought-Associated CIPK Genes in Dendrobium catenatum (Orchidaceae)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030688
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
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Abstract
Dendrobium catenatum, an epiphytic and lithophytic species, suffers frequently from perennial shortage of water in the wild. The molecular mechanisms of this orchid’s tolerance to abiotic stress, especially drought, remain largely unknown. It is well-known that CBL-interacting protein kinase (CIPKs) proteins play [...] Read more.
Dendrobium catenatum, an epiphytic and lithophytic species, suffers frequently from perennial shortage of water in the wild. The molecular mechanisms of this orchid’s tolerance to abiotic stress, especially drought, remain largely unknown. It is well-known that CBL-interacting protein kinase (CIPKs) proteins play important roles in plant developmental processes, signal transduction, and responses to abiotic stress. To study the CIPKs’ functions for D. catenatum, we first identified 24 CIPK genes from it. We divided them into three subgroups, with varying intron numbers and protein motifs, based on phylogeny analysis. Expression patterns of CIPK family genes in different tissues and in response to either drought or cold stresses suggested DcaCIPK11 may be associated with signal transduction and energy metabolism. DcaCIPK9, -14, and -16 are predicted to play critical roles during drought treatment specifically. Furthermore, transcript expression abundances of DcaCIPK16 showed polar opposites during day and night. Whether under drought treatment or not, DcaCIPK16 tended to emphatically express transcript1 during the day and transcript3 at night. This implied that expression of the transcripts might be regulated by circadian rhythm. qRT-PCR analysis also indicated that DcaCIPK3, -8, and -20 were strongly influenced by circadian rhythmicity. In contrast with previous studies, for the first time to our knowledge, our study revealed that the major CIPK gene transcript expressed was not always the same and was affected by the biological clock, providing a different perspective on alternative splicing preference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of TaCOMT Improves Melatonin Production and Enhances Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Arabidopsis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030652
Received: 9 December 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 2 February 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3861 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is involved in many developmental processes and responses to various abiotic stresses in plants. Most of the studies on melatonin focus on its functions and physiological responses in plants, while its regulation mechanism remains unknown. Caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (COMT) functions at [...] Read more.
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is involved in many developmental processes and responses to various abiotic stresses in plants. Most of the studies on melatonin focus on its functions and physiological responses in plants, while its regulation mechanism remains unknown. Caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (COMT) functions at a key step of the biosynthesis process of melatonin. In this study, a COMT-like gene, TaCOMT (Traes_1AL_D9035D5E0.1) was identified in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Transient transformation in wheat protoplasts determined that TaCOMT is localized in cytoplasm. TaCOMT in wheat was induced by drought stress, gibberellin (GA)3 and 3-Indoleacetic acid (IAA), but not by ABA. In TaCOMT transgenic Arabidopsis, melatonin contents were higher than that in wild type (WT) plants. Under D-Mannitol treatment, the fresh weight of the transgenic Arabidopsis was significantly higher than WT, and transgenic lines had a stronger root system compared to WT. Drought tolerance assays in pots showed that the survival rate of TaCOMT-overexpression lines was significantly higher than that of WT lines. this phenotype was similar to that the WT lines treated with melatonin under drought condition. In addition, the TaCOMT transgenic lines had higher proline content and lower malondialdehyde (MDA) content compared to WT lines after drought treatment. These results indicated that overexpression of the wheat TaCOMT gene enhances drought tolerance and increases the content of melatonin in transgenic Arabidopsis. It could be one of the potential genes for agricultural applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
WRKYs, the Jack-of-various-Trades, Modulate Dehydration Stress in Populus davidiana—A Transcriptomic Approach
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(2), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20020414
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
Populus davidiana, native to Korea and central Asian countries, is a major contributor to the Korean forest cover. In the current study, using high-throughput RNA-seq mediated transcriptome analysis, we identified about 87 P. davidiana WRKY transcription factors (PopdaWRKY TFs) that showed differential [...] Read more.
Populus davidiana, native to Korea and central Asian countries, is a major contributor to the Korean forest cover. In the current study, using high-throughput RNA-seq mediated transcriptome analysis, we identified about 87 P. davidiana WRKY transcription factors (PopdaWRKY TFs) that showed differential expression to dehydration stress in both sensitive and tolerant cultivars. Our results suggested that, on average, most of the WRKY genes were upregulated in tolerant cultivars but downregulated in sensitive cultivars. Based on protein sequence alignment, P. davidiana WRKYs were classified into three major groups, I, II, III, and further subgroups. Phylogenetic analysis showed that WRKY TFs and their orthologs in Arabidopsis and rice were clustered together in the same subgroups, suggesting similar functions across species. Significant correlation was found among qRT-PCR and RNA-seq analysis. In vivo analysis using model plant Arabidopsis showed that atwrky62 (orthologous to Potri.016G137900) knockout mutants were significantly sensitive to dehydration possibly due to an inability to close their stomata under dehydration conditions. In addition, a concomitant decrease in expression of ABA biosynthetic genes was observed. The AtHK1 that regulates stomatal movement was also downregulated in atwrky62 compared to the wild type. Taken together, our findings suggest a regulatory role of PopdaWRKYs under dehydration stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrogen Sulfide-Mediated Activation of O-Acetylserine (Thiol) Lyase and l/d-Cysteine Desulfhydrase Enhance Dehydration Tolerance in Eruca sativa Mill
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3981; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123981
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has emerged as an important signaling molecule and plays a significant role during different environmental stresses in plants. The present work was carried out to explore the potential role of H2S in reversal of dehydration stress-inhibited [...] Read more.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has emerged as an important signaling molecule and plays a significant role during different environmental stresses in plants. The present work was carried out to explore the potential role of H2S in reversal of dehydration stress-inhibited O-acetylserine (thiol) lyase (OAS-TL), l-cysteine desulfhydrase (LCD), and d-cysteine desulfhydrase (DCD) response in arugula (Eruca sativa Mill.) plants. Dehydration-stressed plants exhibited reduced water status and increased levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide (O2•−) content that increased membrane permeability and lipid peroxidation, and caused a reduction in chlorophyll content. However, H2S donor sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS), at the rate of 2 mM, substantially reduced oxidative stress (lower H2O2 and O2•−) by upregulating activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase) and increasing accumulation of osmolytes viz. proline and glycine betaine (GB). All these, together, resulted in reduced membrane permeability, lipid peroxidation, water loss, and improved hydration level of plants. The beneficial role of H2S in the tolerance of plants to dehydration stress was traced with H2S-mediated activation of carbonic anhydrase activity and enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of cysteine (Cys), such as OAS-TL. H2S-treated plants showed maximum Cys content. The exogenous application of H2S also induced the activity of LCD and DCD enzymes that assisted the plants to synthesize more H2S from accumulated Cys. Therefore, an adequate concentration of H2S was maintained, that improved the efficiency of plants to mitigate dehydration stress-induced alterations. The central role of H2S in the reversal of dehydration stress-induced damage was evident with the use of the H2S scavenger, hypotaurine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Tolerance to Drought, Low pH and Al Combined Stress in Tibetan Wild Barley Is Associated with Improvement of ATPase and Modulation of Antioxidant Defense System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3553; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113553
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 11 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Aluminum (Al) toxicity and drought are two major constraints on plant growth in acidic soils, negatively affecting crop performance and yield. Genotypic differences in the effects of Al/low pH and polyethyleneglycol (PEG) induced drought stress, applied either individually or in combination, were studied [...] Read more.
Aluminum (Al) toxicity and drought are two major constraints on plant growth in acidic soils, negatively affecting crop performance and yield. Genotypic differences in the effects of Al/low pH and polyethyleneglycol (PEG) induced drought stress, applied either individually or in combination, were studied in Tibetan wild (XZ5, drought-tolerant; XZ29, Al-tolerant) and cultivated barley (Al-tolerant Dayton; drought-tolerant Tadmor). Tibetan wild barley XZ5 and XZ29 had significantly higher H+-ATPase, Ca2+Mg2+-ATPase, and Na+K+-ATPase activities at pH 4.0+Al+PEG than Dayton and Tadmor. Moreover, XZ5 and XZ29 possessed increased levels in reduced ascorbate and glutathione under these conditions, and antioxidant enzyme activities were largely stimulated by exposure to pH 4.0+PEG, pH 4.0+Al, and pH 4.0+Al+PEG, compared to a control and to Dayton and Tadmor. The activity of methylglyoxal (MG) was negatively correlated with increased levels of glyoxalase (Gly) I and Gly II in wild barley. Microscopic imaging of each genotype revealed DNA damage and obvious ultrastructural alterations in leaf cells treated with drought or Al alone, and combined pH 4.0+Al+PEG stress; however, XZ29 and XZ5 were less affected than Dayton and Tadmor. Collectively, the authors findings indicated that the higher tolerance of the wild barley to combined pH 4.0+Al+PEG stress is associated with improved ATPase activities, increased glyoxalase activities, reduced MG, and lower reactive oxygen species levels (like O2 and H2O2) due to increased antioxidant enzyme activities. These results offer a broad comprehension of the mechanisms implicated in barley’s tolerance to the combined stress of Al/low pH and drought, and may provide novel insights into the potential utilization of genetic resources, thereby facilitating the development of barley varieties tolerant to drought and Al/low pH stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Combinations of Small RNA, RNA, and Degradome Sequencing Uncovers the Expression Pattern of microRNA–mRNA Pairs Adapting to Drought Stress in Leaf and Root of Dactylis glomerata L.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 3114; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103114
Received: 25 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Drought stress is a global problem, and the lack of water is a key factor that leads to agricultural shortages. MicroRNAs play a crucial role in the plant drought stress response; however, the microRNAs and their targets involved in drought response have not [...] Read more.
Drought stress is a global problem, and the lack of water is a key factor that leads to agricultural shortages. MicroRNAs play a crucial role in the plant drought stress response; however, the microRNAs and their targets involved in drought response have not been well elucidated. In the present study, we used Illumina platform (https://www.illumina.com/) and combined data from miRNA, RNA, and degradome sequencing to explore the drought- and organ-specific miRNAs in orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) leaf and root. We aimed to find potential miRNA–mRNA regulation patterns responding to drought conditions. In total, 519 (486 conserved and 33 novel) miRNAs were identified, of which, 41 miRNAs had significant differential expression among the comparisons (p < 0.05). We also identified 55,366 unigenes by RNA-Seq, where 12,535 unigenes were differently expressed. Finally, our degradome analysis revealed that 5950 transcripts were targeted by 487 miRNAs. A correlation analysis identified that miRNA ata-miR164c-3p and its target heat shock protein family A (HSP70) member 5 gene comp59407_c0 (BIPE3) may be essential in organ-specific plant drought stress response and/or adaptation in orchardgrass. Additionally, Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) analyses found that “antigen processing and presentation” was the most enriched downregulated pathway in adaptation to drought conditions. Taken together, we explored the genes and miRNAs that may be involved in drought adaptation of orchardgrass and identified how they may be regulated. These results serve as a valuable genetic resource for future studies focusing on how plants adapted to drought conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Microbes in Cahoots with Plants: MIST to Hit the Jackpot of Agricultural Productivity during Drought
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1769; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071769
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Drought conditions marked by water deficit impede plant growth thus causing recurrent decline in agricultural productivity. Presently, research efforts are focussed towards harnessing the potential of microbes to enhance crop production during drought. Microbial communities, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant [...] Read more.
Drought conditions marked by water deficit impede plant growth thus causing recurrent decline in agricultural productivity. Presently, research efforts are focussed towards harnessing the potential of microbes to enhance crop production during drought. Microbial communities, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) buddy up with plants to boost crop productivity during drought via microbial induced systemic tolerance (MIST). The present review summarizes MIST mechanisms during drought comprised of modulation in phytohormonal profiles, sturdy antioxidant defence, osmotic grapnel, bacterial exopolysaccharides (EPS) or AMF glomalin production, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), expression of fungal aquaporins and stress responsive genes, which alters various physiological processes such as hydraulic conductance, transpiration rate, stomatal conductivity and photosynthesis in host plants. Molecular studies have revealed microbial induced differential expression of various genes such as ERD15 (Early Response to Dehydration 15), RAB18 (ABA-responsive gene) in Arabidopsis, COX1 (regulates energy and carbohydrate metabolism), PKDP (protein kinase), AP2-EREBP (stress responsive pathway), Hsp20, bZIP1 and COC1 (chaperones in ABA signalling) in Pseudomonas fluorescens treated rice, LbKT1, LbSKOR (encoding potassium channels) in Lycium, PtYUC3 and PtYUC8 (IAA biosynthesis) in AMF inoculated Poncirus, ADC, AIH, CPA, SPDS, SPMS and SAMDC (polyamine biosynthesis) in PGPR inoculated Arabidopsis, 14-3-3 genes (TFT1-TFT12 genes in ABA signalling pathways) in AMF treated Solanum, ACO, ACS (ethylene biosynthesis), jasmonate MYC2 gene in chick pea, PR1 (SA regulated gene), pdf1.2 (JA marker genes) and VSP1 (ethylene-response gene) in Pseudomonas treated Arabidopsis plants. Moreover, the key role of miRNAs in MIST has also been recorded in Pseudomonas putida RA treated chick pea plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessReview
Crop Pollen Development under Drought: From the Phenotype to the Mechanism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071550
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
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Abstract
Drought stress induced pollen sterility is a harmful factor that reduces crop yield worldwide. During the reproductive process, the meiotic stage and the mitotic stage in anthers are both highly vulnerable to water deficiency. Drought at these stages causes pollen sterility by affecting [...] Read more.
Drought stress induced pollen sterility is a harmful factor that reduces crop yield worldwide. During the reproductive process, the meiotic stage and the mitotic stage in anthers are both highly vulnerable to water deficiency. Drought at these stages causes pollen sterility by affecting the nature and structure of the anthers, including the degeneration of some meiocytes, disorientated microspores, an expanded middle layer and abnormal vacuolizated tapeta. The homeostasis of the internal environment is imbalanced in drought-treated anthers, involving the decreases of gibberellic acid (GA) and auxin, and the increases of abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Changes in carbohydrate availability, metabolism and distribution may be involved in the effects of drought stress at the reproductive stages. Here, we summarize the molecular regulatory mechanism of crop pollen development under drought stresses. The meiosis-related genes, sugar transporter genes, GA and ABA pathway genes and ROS-related genes may be altered in their expression in anthers to repair the drought-induced injures. It could also be that some drought-responsive genes, mainly expressed in the anther, regulate the expression of anther-related genes to improve both drought tolerance and anther development. A deepened understanding of the molecular regulatory mechanism of pollen development under stress will be beneficial for breeding drought-tolerant crops with high and stable yield under drought conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessReview
Biological Roles of Ornithine Aminotransferase (OAT) in Plant Stress Tolerance: Present Progress and Future Perspectives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113681
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2275 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses is complicated by interactions between different stresses. Maintaining crop yield under abiotic stresses is the most daunting challenge for breeding resilient crop varieties. In response to environmental stresses, plants produce several metabolites, such as proline (Pro), [...] Read more.
Plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses is complicated by interactions between different stresses. Maintaining crop yield under abiotic stresses is the most daunting challenge for breeding resilient crop varieties. In response to environmental stresses, plants produce several metabolites, such as proline (Pro), polyamines (PAs), asparagine, serine, carbohydrates including glucose and fructose, and pools of antioxidant reactive oxygen species. Among these metabolites, Pro has long been known to accumulate in cells and to be closely related to drought, salt, and pathogen resistance. Pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) is a common intermediate of Pro synthesis and metabolism that is produced by ornithine aminotransferase (OAT), an enzyme that functions in an alternative Pro metabolic pathway in the mitochondria under stress conditions. OAT is highly conserved and, to date, has been found in all prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. In addition, ornithine (Orn) and arginine (Arg) are both precursors of PAs, which confer plant resistance to drought and salt stresses. OAT is localized in the cytosol in prokaryotes and fungi, while OAT is localized in the mitochondria in higher plants. We have comprehensively reviewed the research on Orn, Arg, and Pro metabolism in plants, as all these compounds allow plants to tolerate different kinds of stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Enhancing drought tolerance in oil seed crops (camelina & canola) in improving physiochemical, antioxidants and yield components by foliar selenium (Se) application under drought stress
Authors: Zahoor Ahmad 1,2,*, Ejaz Ahmad Waraich 3, Shazia Anjum 1, Muhammad Irfan 4 and Muhammad Aamir Iqbal 5
Affiliation:1 Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan; 2Department of Life Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan; 3Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan; 4 Schools of Environmental Science & Engineering, Tianjin University, China; 5Deaprtment of Agronomy, University of Poonch Rawalakot Azad Kashmir, Pakistan; *Corresponding author.
Abstract: From previous few decades, drought became a serious exceedingly challenge for farming in all over the world. Drought poses significant threat to crop failure and may lead to food shortage. Based on the aim of study, the present research work was performed in pot to enhancing drought tolerance in oil seed crops (camelina & canola) through improving physiochemical, antioxidants and yield related parameters by foliar selenium (Se) application under drought stress in the Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan. Two oil seed crops such as camelina genotypes (Australian camelina and Canadian camelina) and canola genotypes (AARI canola and UAF canola) were grown during the growing season 2016 under control (100% FC) and drought stress (40% FC) conditions. Four different treatments of Se which were selected from screening experiments such as Se priming @ 75μM, foliar Se @ 7.06 μM and foliar Se with priming (7.06 μM & 75μM) along with control were applied at the vegetative stage of both oil seed crops by using randomized complete block design and each replicated thrice. Both crops grown up to maturity and following data of physiochemical, antioxidants and yield components were recorded during this study. Results indicated that the physiochemical parameters (WP, OP, TP, Proline, TSS, TFAA, TPr and TS), total chlorophyll contents and were improved by foliar Se application along with Se seed priming in both oil seed crops in drought stress as well as non-stress conditions as compared to all other treatments, similarly the osmoprotactants (GB, anthocyanin, TPC and flavonoids) and antioxidants (APX, SOD, POD and CAT) were also showed better enhancement in both oil seed crops through application of foliar Se along with seed priming with Se (7.06 μM & 75μM) under normal as well as drought stress conditions as compared to other treatments. Yield components (Number of branches per plant, thousand seed weight, seed yield (t/ha) and biological yield (t/ha)) of both oil seed crops were enhanced by foliar Se with Se seed priming (7.06 μM & 75μM) under stress and non-stress conditions. Foliar Se along with seed priming with Se was helpful in in improving drought tolerance of crops.

Title: Impact of drought in plants: case in the biological metabolism of rice (Oryza sativa)
Author: Xiaojun Zha
Abstract: Drought occupies a major place in the world. it is an environmental catastrophe that gets better with the presence of global warming. Biotic stress is one of the major problems affecting agriculture, especially rice, negatively impacting the bioligic mechanism, leaves, roots and membrane. drought decreases the growth and production of rice in a world where the population continues to grow. the yield becomes low. In this review we see how drought stress affect the rice. In general, we show how abiotic stress affects plants and we provide particular results of the studies on rice.

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