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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: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ricardo Aroca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Soil Microbiology and Symbiotic Systems, Granada, Spain
Interests: abscisic acid; aquaporins; drought, ethylene; jasmonic acid; mycorrhizal fungi; salinity; soil bacteria; water relations
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

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

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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.

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Autophagic Survival Precedes Programmed Cell Death in Wheat Seedlings Exposed to Drought Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225777 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Although studies have shown the concomitant occurrence of autophagic and programmed cell death (PCD) in plants, the relationship between autophagy and PCD and the factors determining this relationship remain unclear. In this study, seedlings of the wheat cultivar Jimai 22 were used to [...] Read more.
Although studies have shown the concomitant occurrence of autophagic and programmed cell death (PCD) in plants, the relationship between autophagy and PCD and the factors determining this relationship remain unclear. In this study, seedlings of the wheat cultivar Jimai 22 were used to examine the occurrence of autophagy and PCD during polyethylene glycol (PEG)-8000-induced drought stress. Autophagy and PCD occurred sequentially, with autophagy at a relatively early stage and PCD at a much later stage. These findings suggest that the duration of drought stress determines the occurrence of PCD following autophagy. Furthermore, the addition of 3-methyladenine (3-MA, an autophagy inhibitor) and the knockdown of autophagy-related gene 6 (ATG6) accelerated PEG-8000-induced PCD, respectively, suggesting that inhibition of autophagy also results in PCD under drought stress. Overall, these findings confirm that wheat seedlings undergo autophagic survival under mild drought stress, with subsequent PCD only under severe drought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
The Maize Clade A PP2C Phosphatases Play Critical Roles in Multiple Abiotic Stress Responses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3573; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143573 - 22 Jul 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1036
Abstract
As the core components of abscisic acid (ABA) signal pathway, Clade A PP2C (PP2C-A) phosphatases in ABA-dependent stress responses have been well studied in Arabidopsis. However, the roles and natural variations of maize PP2C-A in stress responses remain largely unknown. In this [...] Read more.
As the core components of abscisic acid (ABA) signal pathway, Clade A PP2C (PP2C-A) phosphatases in ABA-dependent stress responses have been well studied in Arabidopsis. However, the roles and natural variations of maize PP2C-A in stress responses remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression patterns of ZmPP2C-As treated with multiple stresses and generated transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing most of the ZmPP2C-A genes. The results showed that the expression of most ZmPP2C-As were dramatically induced by multiple stresses (drought, salt, and ABA), indicating that these genes may have important roles in response to these stresses. Compared with wild-type plants, ZmPP2C-A1, ZmPP2C-A2, and ZmPP2C-A6 overexpression plants had higher germination rates after ABA and NaCl treatments. ZmPP2C-A2 and ZmPP2C-A6 negatively regulated drought responses as the plants overexpressing these genes had lower survival rates, higher leaf water loss rates, and lower proline accumulation compared to wild type plants. The natural variations of ZmPP2C-As associated with drought tolerance were also analyzed and favorable alleles were detected. We widely studied the roles of ZmPP2C-A genes in stress responses and the natural variations detected in these genes have the potential to be used as molecular markers in genetic improvement of maize drought tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
A Gene Regulatory Network Controlled by BpERF2 and BpMYB102 in Birch under Drought Conditions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(12), 3071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20123071 - 23 Jun 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Gene expression profiles are powerful tools for investigating mechanisms of plant stress tolerance. Betula platyphylla (birch) is a widely distributed tree, but its drought-tolerance mechanism has been little studied. Using RNA-Seq, we identified 2917 birch genes involved in its response to drought stress. [...] Read more.
Gene expression profiles are powerful tools for investigating mechanisms of plant stress tolerance. Betula platyphylla (birch) is a widely distributed tree, but its drought-tolerance mechanism has been little studied. Using RNA-Seq, we identified 2917 birch genes involved in its response to drought stress. These drought-responsive genes include the late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) family, heat shock protein (HSP) family, water shortage-related and ROS-scavenging proteins, and many transcription factors (TFs). Among the drought-induced TFs, the ethylene responsive factor (ERF) and myeloblastosis oncogene (MYB) families were the most abundant. BpERF2 and BpMYB102, which were strongly induced by drought and had high transcription levels, were selected to study their regulatory networks. BpERF2 and BpMYB102 both played roles in enhancing drought tolerance in birch. Chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with qRT-PCR indicated that BpERF2 regulated genes such as those in the LEA and HSP families, while BpMYB102 regulated genes such as Pathogenesis-related Protein 1 (PRP1) and 4-Coumarate:Coenzyme A Ligase 10 (4CL10). Multiple genes were regulated by both BpERF2 and BpMYB102. We further characterized the function of some of these genes, and the genes that encode Root Primordium Defective 1 (RPD1), PRP1, 4CL10, LEA1, SOD5, and HSPs were found to be involved in drought tolerance. Therefore, our results suggest that BpERF2 and BpMYB102 serve as transcription factors that regulate a series of drought-tolerance genes in B. platyphylla to improve drought tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
The Elongation Factor GmEF4 Is Involved in the Response to Drought and Salt Tolerance in Soybean
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(12), 3001; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20123001 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Growing evidence indicates that elongation factor 1α (EF1α) is involved in responses to various abiotic stresses in several plant species. Soybean EF1α proteins include three structural domains: one GTP-binding domain and two oligonucleotide binding domains that are also called as domain 2 and [...] Read more.
Growing evidence indicates that elongation factor 1α (EF1α) is involved in responses to various abiotic stresses in several plant species. Soybean EF1α proteins include three structural domains: one GTP-binding domain and two oligonucleotide binding domains that are also called as domain 2 and domain 3. In this study, 10 EF1α genes were identified in the soybean genome. We predicted structures of different domains and analyzed gene locations, gene structures, phylogenetic relationships, various cis-elements, and conserved domains of soybean EF1αs. The expression patterns of 10 EF1α genes were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Under drought stress, soybean EF1α genes were upregulated in varying degrees. In particular, GmEF4 was upregulated under drought and salt treatments. Compared to the drought- and salt-treated empty vector (EV)-control plants, drought- and salt-treated GmEF4-overexpressing (OE) plants had significantly delayed leaf wilting, longer root, higher biomass, higher proline (Pro) content, and lower H2O2, O2, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents. Thus, this study provides a foundation for further functional genomics research about this important family under abiotic stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Gene Expression Profiles Deciphering the Pathways of Coronatine Alleviating Water Stress in Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Cultivar Nipponbare (Japonica)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102543 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1254
Abstract
Coronatine (COR) is a structural and functional analog of methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA), which can alleviate stress on plant. We studied the effects of COR on the drought stress of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Pre-treatment with COR significantly increased the biomass, relative [...] Read more.
Coronatine (COR) is a structural and functional analog of methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA), which can alleviate stress on plant. We studied the effects of COR on the drought stress of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Pre-treatment with COR significantly increased the biomass, relative water and proline content, and DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl)-radical scavenging activity, decreased the electrolyte leakage and MDA (Malondialdehyde) content in order to maintain the stability of cell membrane. Meanwhile, we determined how COR alleviates water stress by Nipponbare gene expression profiles and cDNA microarray analyses. Seedlings were treated with 0.1 μmol L−1 COR at the three leafed stage for 12 h, followed with 17.5% polyethylene glycol (PEG). Whole genome transcript analysis was determined by employing the Rice Gene Chip (Affymetrix), a total of 870 probe sets were identified to be up or downregulated due to COR treatment under drought stress. Meanwhile, the real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) method was used to verify some genes; it indicated that there was a good agreement between the microarray data and RT-qPCR results. Our data showed that the differentially expressed genes were involved in stress response, signal transduction, metabolism and tissue structure development. Some important genes response to stress were induced by COR, which may enhance the expression of functional genes implicated in many kinds of metabolism, and play a role in defense response of rice seedling to drought stress. This study will aid in the analysis of the expressed gene induced by COR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
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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 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1478
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 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1472
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 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1111
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 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1205