Special Issue "Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Anelia Dobrikova
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia 1113, Bulgaria
Interests: photosynthesis; photosynthetic organisms; photosynthetic membranes; adaptation mechanisms of plants to abiotic stress factors; exogenous application of protectants; chlorophyll fluorescence; electron transport; oxygen-evolving reactions; heavy metals; phytoremediation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global climate change and environmental pollution substantially restrict crop growth and development, which highlights the need to develop and research new crop species with increased tolerance to various abiotic stresses. In recent years, there is an increasing interest in clarifying the mechanisms of plant adaptation and tolerance against environmental stress. Many researchers have focused their efforts on exploring the resistance of different crop species (including varieties, cultivars, genotypes, hybrids, and others) to different environmental stress factors, alone or in combination, such as high light, UV radiation, oxidative stress, salinity, water stress, extreme temperatures, heavy metal toxicity, etc. Achieving stable crop production in stressful conditions depends largely on the ability of plants to maintain their functions under environmental stress. One of the methods for improving plant tolerance to different abiotic stresses includes application of exogenous phytoprotectants, which can mitigate their effects on plants.

Plant responses to environmental stresses are complex and involve a wide array of morphological, physiological, and biochemical processes. Photosynthesis is the primary physiological process affected by abiotic stresses in all its phases. Photosynthetic membranes are very sensitive to environmental stress as damage of the photosynthetic apparatus occurs at different levels of its organization: chloroplast ultrastructure, pigment, lipid, and protein composition. Therefore, knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the response and adaptation of the photosynthetic apparatus to stressful conditions is of great importance for a deeper understanding of plant tolerance under abiotic stress, which can support new strategies for the development of climate-resilient crops.

The current Special Issue will also draw attention to medicinal plants (herbs) and the effects of drought, salt, light, temperature, and heavy metal stresses on their adaptation mechanisms and secondary metabolite production.

Scientists from all over the world are invited to submit original research and review articles on topics related to crop and medical plant tolerance to adverse environmental conditions.

Prof. Dr. Anelia Dobrikova
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • adaptation mechanisms
  • crop plant responses
  • environmental pollution
  • exogenous phytoprotectants
  • medical plant tolerance
  • oxidative stress defense systems
  • photodamage
  • photoregulation
  • photosynthesis
  • photosynthetic apparatus
  • reactive oxygen species

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessCommunication
OsmiR535, a Potential Genetic Editing Target for Drought and Salinity Stress Tolerance in Oryza sativa
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1337; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101337 - 10 Oct 2020
Abstract
OsmiR535 belongs to the miR156/miR529/miR535 superfamily, a highly conserved miRNA family in plants. OsmiR535 is involved in regulating the cold-stress response, modulating plant development, and determining panicle architecture and grain length. However, the role that OsmiR535 plays in plant responses to drought and [...] Read more.
OsmiR535 belongs to the miR156/miR529/miR535 superfamily, a highly conserved miRNA family in plants. OsmiR535 is involved in regulating the cold-stress response, modulating plant development, and determining panicle architecture and grain length. However, the role that OsmiR535 plays in plant responses to drought and salinity are elusive. In the current study, molecular and genetic engineering techniques were used to elucidate the possible role of OsmiR535 in response to NaCl, PEG(Poly ethylene glycol), ABA(Abscisic acid), and dehydration stresses. Our results showed that OsmiR535 is induced under stressed conditions as compared to control. With transgenic and CRISPR/Cas9 knockout system techniques, our results verified that either inhibition or knockout of OsmiR535 in rice could enhance the tolerance of plants to NaCl, ABA, dehydration and PEG stresses. In addition, the overexpression of OsmiR535 significantly reduced the survival rate of rice seedlings during PEG and dehydration post-stress recovery. Our results demonstrated that OsmiR535 negatively regulates the stress response in rice. Moreover, our practical application of CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing created a homozygous 5 bp deletion in the coding sequence of OsmiR535, demonstrating that OsmiR535 could be a useful genetic editing target for drought and salinity tolerance and a new marker for molecular breeding of Oryza sativa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
The Molecular and Functional Characterization of the Durum Wheat Lipoxygenase TdLOX2 Suggests Its Role in Hyperosmotic Stress Response
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1233; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091233 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
In plants, lipoxygenases (LOXs) are involved in various processes, such as growth, development, and response to stress cues. In the present study, the expression pattern of six durum wheat LOX-encoding genes (TdLpx-B1.1, TdLpx-B1.2, TdLpx-A2, TdLpx-B2, TdLpx-A3 and TdLpx-B3 [...] Read more.
In plants, lipoxygenases (LOXs) are involved in various processes, such as growth, development, and response to stress cues. In the present study, the expression pattern of six durum wheat LOX-encoding genes (TdLpx-B1.1, TdLpx-B1.2, TdLpx-A2, TdLpx-B2, TdLpx-A3 and TdLpx-B3) under hyperosmotic stress was investigated. With osmotic (0.42 M mannitol) and salt (0.21 M NaCl) stress imposed at the early stages of seedling growth, a strong induction of the TdLpx-A2 gene expression in the shoots paralleled an equally strong increase in the LOX activity. Enhanced levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and increased rates of superoxide anion generation were also observed as a result of the stress imposition. Sequence analysis of the TdLOX2 encoded by the TdLpx-A2 gene revealed that it belonged to the type-1 9-LOX group. When overexpressed in E. coli, TdLOX2 exhibited normal enzyme activity, high sensitivity to specific LOX inhibitors, with 76% and 99% inhibition by salicylhydroxamic and propyl gallate, respectively, and a preference for linoleic acid as substrate, which was converted exclusively to its corresponding 13-hydroperoxide. This unexpected positional specificity could be related to the unusual TV/K motif that in TdLOX2 replaces the canonical TV/R motif of 9-LOXs. Treatment of seedlings with propyl gallate strongly suppressed the increase in LOX activity induced by the hyperosmotic stress; the MDA accumulation was also reduced but less markedly, whereas the rate of superoxide anion generation was even more increased. Overall, our findings suggest that the up-regulation of the TdLpx-A2 gene is a component of the durum wheat response to hyperosmotic stress and that TdLOX2 may act by counteracting the excessive generation of harmful reactive oxygen species responsible for the oxidative damages that occur in plants under stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Drought and Salinity on Two Commercial Varieties of Lavandula angustifolia Mill
Plants 2020, 9(5), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050637 - 16 May 2020
Abstract
Global warming is not only affecting arid and semi-arid regions but also becoming a threat to agriculture in Central and Eastern European countries. The present study analyzes the responses to drought and salinity of two varieties of Lavandula angustifolia cultivated in Romania. Lavender [...] Read more.
Global warming is not only affecting arid and semi-arid regions but also becoming a threat to agriculture in Central and Eastern European countries. The present study analyzes the responses to drought and salinity of two varieties of Lavandula angustifolia cultivated in Romania. Lavender seedlings were subjected to one month of salt stress (100, 200, and 300 mM NaCl) and water deficit (complete withholding of irrigation) treatments. To assess the effects of stress on the plants, several growth parameters and biochemical stress markers (photosynthetic pigments, mono and divalent ions, and different osmolytes) were determined in control and stressed plants after the treatments. Both stress conditions significantly inhibited the growth of the two varieties, but all plants survived the treatments, indicating a relative stress tolerance of the two varieties. The most relevant mechanisms of salt tolerance are based on the maintenance of foliar K+ levels and the accumulation of Ca2+ and proline as a functional osmolyte in parallel with increasing external salinities. Under water stress, significant increases of Na+ and K+ concentrations were detected in roots, indicating a possible role of these cations in osmotic adjustment, limiting root dehydration. No significant differences were found when comparing the stress tolerance and stress responses of the two selected lavender varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Exogenous Ascorbic Acid Induced Chilling Tolerance in Tomato Plants Through Modulating Metabolism, Osmolytes, Antioxidants, and Transcriptional Regulation of Catalase and Heat Shock Proteins
Plants 2020, 9(4), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040431 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Chilling, a sort of cold stress, is a typical abiotic ecological stress that impacts the development as well as the growth of crops. The present study was carried to investigate the role of ascorbic acid root priming in enhancing tolerance of tomato seedlings [...] Read more.
Chilling, a sort of cold stress, is a typical abiotic ecological stress that impacts the development as well as the growth of crops. The present study was carried to investigate the role of ascorbic acid root priming in enhancing tolerance of tomato seedlings against acute chilling stress. The treatments included untreated control, ascorbic acid-treated plants (AsA; 0.5 mM), acute chilling-stressed plants (4 °C), and chilling stressed seedlings treated by ascorbic acid. Exposure to acute chilling stress reduced growth in terms of length, fresh and dry biomass, pigment synthesis, and photosynthesis. AsA was effective in mitigating the injurious effects of chilling stress to significant levels when supplied at 0.5 mM concentrations. AsA priming reduced the chilling mediated oxidative damage by lowering the electrolyte leakage, lipid peroxidation, and hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, up regulating the activity of enzymatic components of the antioxidant system. Further, 0.5 mM AsA proved beneficial in enhancing ions uptake in normal and chilling stressed seedlings. At the gene expression level, AsA significantly lowered the expression level of CAT and heat shock protein genes. Therefore, we theorize that the implementation of exogenous AsA treatment reduced the negative effects of severe chilling stress on tomato. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical 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: Field assessment of drought tolerance in maize using multiple stress indexes
Authors: Fokion Papathanasiou
Affiliation: Department of Agriculture School of Agricultural Sciences University of Western Macedonia-Greece

Title: The molecular and functional characterization of the durum wheat lipoxygenase TdLOX2 suggests its role in hyperosmotic stress response
Authors: Daniela Trono
Affiliation: Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Centro di Ricerca Cerealicoltura e Colture Industriali, S.S. 673, Km 25,200, 71122 Foggia, Italy.
Abstract: In plants, lipoxygenases (LOXs) are involved in various process, such as growth, development, and stress responses. In the present study, the expression pattern of six durum wheat LOX-encoding genes (Lpx-B1.1, Lpx-B1.2, Lpx-A2, Lpx-B2, Lpx-A3 and Lpx-B3) under hyperosmotic stress was investigated. With osmotic (0.42 M mannitol) and salt (0.21 M NaCl) stress imposed at the early stages of seedling growth, a strong induction of the TdLpx-A2 gene expression in the shoots paralleled an equally strong increase in the LOX activity. Enhanced levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and increased rates of superoxide anion generation were also observed as a consequence of the stress imposition. Sequence analysis of the TdLOX2 encoded by the TdLpx-A2 gene revealed that it belonged to the type-1 9-LOX group. When overexpressed in E. coli, TdLOX2 exhibited normal enzyme activity, high sensitivity to specific LOX inhibitors, with 76% and 99% inhibition by salicylhydroxamic and propylgallate, respectively, and a preference for linoleic acid as substrate, which was converted exclusively to its corresponding 13-hydroperoxide. This unexpected position specificity is probably due to the unusual TV/K motif that in TdLOX2 replaces the canonical TV/R motif of 9-LOXs. Treatment of seedlings with propylgallate strongly suppressed the increase in LOX activity induced by the hyperosmotic stress, the MDA accumulation was also reduced but less markedly, whereas the rate of superoxide anion generation was even more increased. Taken together, our results suggest that the up-regulation of the TdLpx-A2 gene is a component of the durum wheat response to hyperosmotic stress and that TdLOX2 may act by counteracting the excessive generation of harmful reactive oxygen species responsible for the oxidative damages that could occur in plants under stress.

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