Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance

A special issue of Stresses (ISSN 2673-7140). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant and Photoautotrophic Stresses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 59124

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh
Interests: antioxidants; abiotic stress tolerance; plant metabolites; ROS signaling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 1575 Varsity Drive, VRB, Module # 6, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Interests: rice, wheat, strawberry and tomato diseases; integrated disease management; plant-pathogen interactions, genetic mapping, and GWAS; RNA-seq analysis; genotyping-by-sequencing, and plant microbiomes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Ensuring food security for the increasing global population is one of the challenges that must be addressed in the coming decades. Plant biologists and agronomists are the most responsible for the steady improvement of crop production. However, there are several challenges that hinder crop production, including various abiotic (salt, drought, flooding, metal/metalloid toxicity, extreme temperature, etc.) and biotic stresses (weeds, insects, pathogens, etc.). Plants are sessile organisms and cannot avoid such stressors. Plants’ survival under adverse environments is dependent on various defense mechanisms. Therefore, understanding such physiological and molecular mechanisms of plant stress tolerance is one of the vital tasks for plant biologists and agronomists. In this Special Issue, we aim to publish research articles and reviews on various aspects of crop responses and tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses, which will also serve as a foundation for crop production under stressful conditions.

Prof. Dr. Mirza Hasanuzzaman
Dr. Tika Adhikari
Prof. Dr. Luigi Sanita' di Toppi
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (21 papers)

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9 pages, 1248 KiB  
Communication
Expression Profile of Selected Genes Involved in Na+ Homeostasis and In Silico miRNA Identification in Medicago sativa and Medicago arborea under Salinity Stress
by Efi Sarri, Aliki Kapazoglou, Maria Gerakari, Eleni M. Abraham, Penelope J. Bebeli and Eleni Tani
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 331-339; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010024 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1326
Abstract
The accumulation of ions due to increased salinity in the soil is one of the major abiotic stressors of cultivated plants that negatively affect their productivity. The model plant, Medicago truncatula, is the only Medicago species that has been extensively studied, whereas [...] Read more.
The accumulation of ions due to increased salinity in the soil is one of the major abiotic stressors of cultivated plants that negatively affect their productivity. The model plant, Medicago truncatula, is the only Medicago species that has been extensively studied, whereas research into increased salinity adaptation of two important forage legumes, M. sativa and M. arborea, has been limited. In the present study, the expression of six genes, namely SOS1, SOS3, NHX2, AKT, AVP and HKT1 was monitored to investigate the manner in which sodium ions are blocked and transferred to the various plant parts. In addition, in silico miRNA analysis was performed to identify miRNAs that possibly control the expression of the genes studied. The following treatments were applied: (1) salt stress, with initial treatment of 50 mM NaCl and gradual acclimatization every 10 days, (2) salt shock, with continuous application of 100 mM NaCl concentration and (3) no application of NaCl. Results showed that M. arborea appeared to overexpress and activate all available mechanisms of resistance in conditions of increased salinity, while M. sativa acted in a more targeted way, overexpressing the HKT1 and AKT genes that contribute to the accumulation of sodium ions, particularly in the root. Regarding miRNA in silico analysis, five miRNAs with significant complementarity to putative target genes, AKT1, AVP and SOS3 were identified and served as a first step in investigating miRNA regulatory networks. Further miRNA expression studies will validate these results. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying salt-responsiveness in Medicago and could be used in the future for generating salt-tolerant genotypes in crop improvement programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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15 pages, 2802 KiB  
Article
Zat12 Gene Ameliorates Temperature Stress in Wheat Transgenics by Modulating the Antioxidant Defense System
by Manpreet Kaur, Bavita Asthir, Ramandeep Kaur and Ankur Chaudhary
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 316-330; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010023 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1595
Abstract
The present study was undertaken with the objective to reconnoiter the role of Zat12-related biochemical activities in temperature stress tolerance in wheat transgenic lines Z-8-12 1A, Z-8-12 1B, Z-8-19, and Z-15-10, which were produced by transforming wheat-cultivar PBW 621. Zat12 transgenics (ZT) [...] Read more.
The present study was undertaken with the objective to reconnoiter the role of Zat12-related biochemical activities in temperature stress tolerance in wheat transgenic lines Z-8-12 1A, Z-8-12 1B, Z-8-19, and Z-15-10, which were produced by transforming wheat-cultivar PBW 621. Zat12 transgenics (ZT) along with non-transgenic (NT) wheat cultivars (PBW 621, PBW, 550, and HD 3086) were assessed at the three-weeks seedling stage under chilling (−2 °C and −4 °C) and heat (30 °C and 32 °C) stress. Specific activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GR), and antioxidants (proline and ascorbate) were profoundly increased under temperature stress in ZT related to NT. However, under −4 °C and 32 °C, a significantly higher increase was reported. In contrast, H2O2 and MDA were found to be much lower in ZT than in NT. Similarly, lesser decreases in length, fresh weight, and dry weight of seedlings were reported in ZT at 30 °C and 32 °C. RT-PCR studies revealed the enhanced expression of Zat12 in the roots of seedlings at the 5, 10, and 14 days after germination (DAG) stages in ZT under the stress conditions. Upregulation of the antioxidant defense system in ZT and their better tolerance depict an alternative for wheat cultivation under temperature stress-prone areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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14 pages, 1461 KiB  
Communication
Field Investigation into Tree Fates from Recent Apple Tree Decline: Abrupt Hydraulic Failure versus Gradual Hydraulic Loss
by Hao Xu, Kirsten D. Hannam, Jesse L. MacDonald and Danielle Ediger
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 256-269; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010019 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1776
Abstract
In the last decade, a sporadic tree health syndrome affecting high-density apple plantings in North America has become known as Rapid Apple Decline (RAD) or Sudden Apple Decline (SAD). The affected apple trees were typically grafted on small dwarfing rootstocks, often displayed necrosis [...] Read more.
In the last decade, a sporadic tree health syndrome affecting high-density apple plantings in North America has become known as Rapid Apple Decline (RAD) or Sudden Apple Decline (SAD). The affected apple trees were typically grafted on small dwarfing rootstocks, often displayed necrosis at the graft union, and suffered from sudden mortality that occurred over 2–3 weeks amid the growing season or a gradual decline. In 2019 and 2020, we conducted a multi-site investigation in the south Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, to assess the stem hydraulic characteristics, stomatal conductance, leaf δ13C‰, and fruit dry matter accumulation of the declining trees during disease progression. In trees that died, mortality appeared to be associated with severe disruption in xylem water transport at the damaged graft union, followed by abrupt hydraulic failure. In contrast, symptomatic trees that did not die exhibited the moderately declined plant water relations and a reduction in fruit dry matter accumulation followed by either further deterioration or eventual recovery. This pattern indicates the risk of carbohydrate depletion over gradual hydraulic decline and the importance of timely horticultural remedies. In the present study, we discuss potential horticultural practices to mitigate hydraulic dysfunctions and enhance crop tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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23 pages, 2557 KiB  
Article
Contrasting Toxicity of a Fomesafen-Based Herbicide on Three Freshwater Phytoplanktonic Species
by Jonathan Naoum, Michel Lavoie, Marcelo Pedrosa Gomes and Philippe Juneau
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 102-124; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010009 - 5 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Pesticides leaching and run-off to nearby freshwater sources are a major ecological concern. The emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds led to the increased usage of fomesafen, a diphenyl ether herbicide inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO). This recent rise in demand and use for this molecule [...] Read more.
Pesticides leaching and run-off to nearby freshwater sources are a major ecological concern. The emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds led to the increased usage of fomesafen, a diphenyl ether herbicide inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO). This recent rise in demand and use for this molecule invariably increases the chance of this herbicide entering freshwater environments and affecting non-target organisms. However, there is still a lack of information in the literature regarding the impact of this herbicide on the physiology of freshwater phytoplankton. This study aimed to determine the impact of five concentrations (0, 5, 10, 40, 320 µg · L−1) of a fomesafen-based herbicide (Reflex®) on the physiology of two species of green microalgae (Raphidocelis subcapitata FACHB-271; Chlamydomonas snowii) and one cyanobacterial species (Microcystis aeruginosa CPCC 632). While physiological biomarkers (growth, photosynthesis, pigment content, oxidative stress and morphology) of R. subcapitata were significantly affected by the fomesafen treatments, no significant effects were observed in the physiology of C. snowii and M. aeruginosa. We hypothesize that this difference in fomesafen resistance is most likely due to intracellular morphological and genetic differences between species. Modeling of fomesafen uptake in R. subcapitata showed that alteration of cell biovolume is unlikely to be an efficient mechanism modulating fomesafen toxicity and that potential fomesafen efflux or breakdown would need to be very fast (and operate at a high energy cost) in order to protect against uptake and toxicity. This study provides new insights into the sensitivity of different algae species toward fomesafen as well as the associated cellular toxicity mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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28 pages, 5423 KiB  
Article
Nitric Oxide- and Sulfur-Mediated Reversal of Cadmium-Inhibited Photosynthetic Performance Involves Hydrogen Sulfide and Regulation of Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Antioxidant Metabolism in Mustard
by Iqbal R. Mir, Bilal A. Rather, Asim Masood and Nafees A. Khan
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 550-577; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040037 - 12 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2105
Abstract
This study aimed to test the role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the responses regarding the nitric oxide- (NO) and sulfur (S)-mediated improvement in photosynthesis and growth under cadmium (Cd) stress in mustard (Brassica juncea L. cv. Giriraj), and integrate [...] Read more.
This study aimed to test the role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the responses regarding the nitric oxide- (NO) and sulfur (S)-mediated improvement in photosynthesis and growth under cadmium (Cd) stress in mustard (Brassica juncea L. cv. Giriraj), and integrate the mechanisms of S, nitrogen (N), and antioxidant metabolism. The plants grown with Cd (200 mg Cd kg−1 soil) exhibited reduced assimilation of S and N and diminished photosynthetic performance, which was associated with higher Cd accumulation-induced excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. The application of 100 μM of sodium nitroprusside (SNP, a NO donor) together with a more prominent concentration of S resulted in increased photosynthetic S- and N-use efficiency, production of non-protein thiols and phytochelatins, efficiency of enzymatic (superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, and glutathione reductase), non-enzymatic antioxidants (ascorbate and glutathione) limiting Cd accumulation and, thus, reduced oxidative stress (superoxide radical, hydrogen peroxide, and thiobarbituric acid reactive species content). The benefit of NO together with S was manifested through a modulation in H2S production. The use of 100 μM of hypotaurine (HT; H2S scavenger) or 100 μM of cPTIO (2-4-carboxyphenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide) in plants treated with NO plus S reversed the action of NO plus S, with a higher reduction in photosynthesis and growth with the use of HT, suggesting that H2S plays a significant role in the NO- and S-mediated alleviation of Cd stress. The interplay of NO and ES with H2S may be used in augmenting the photosynthesis and growth of Cd-grown mustard plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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16 pages, 3865 KiB  
Article
Involvement of Nitric Oxide in Methyl Jasmonate-Mediated Regulation of Water Metabolism in Wheat Plants under Drought Stress
by Alsu R. Lubyanova, Marina V. Bezrukova and Farida M. Shakirova
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 477-492; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040033 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
Drought is a serious challenge that causes significant crop loss worldwide. The developmental processes of plants are regulated by phytohormones and signaling molecules that crosstalk together in signaling cascades. We suppose that nitric oxide (NO) is a secondary messenger of the JAs signaling [...] Read more.
Drought is a serious challenge that causes significant crop loss worldwide. The developmental processes of plants are regulated by phytohormones and signaling molecules that crosstalk together in signaling cascades. We suppose that nitric oxide (NO) is a secondary messenger of the JAs signaling pathway, as 10−7 M methyl jasmonate (MeJA) pretreatment regulates NO accumulation in wheat plants under drought stress, modulated by 12% polyethylene glycol (PEG), and in control plants. This study aimed to compare 2 × 10−4 M nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and MeJA pretreatments in regulating growth and water balance parameters at the vulnerable initial first-leaf stage of wheat growth. The application of 12% PEG decreased transpiration intensity twofold, relative water content (RWC) by 7–9%, and osmotic potential of cell sap by 33–40% compared with those of control plants. Under drought, MeJA- and SNP-pretreated plants decreased transpiration intensity by 20–25%, RWC by 3–4%, and osmotic potential of cell sap by 16–21% compared with those of control plants, and enhanced the proline content by 25–55% compared with MeJA- and SNP-untreated plants. Our results suggest that pretreatment with MeJA as well as SNP could mitigate drought stress in wheat plants. Similarities in MeJA- and SNP-induced shifts in plant water balance suggested that NO is a mediator of MeJA-induced regulation of wheat water content during water deficit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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10 pages, 900 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Grain Weight and Other Yield Component Traits of Maize Varieties Exposed to Heat-Stress and Combined Heat- and Water-Stress Conditions
by Uchechukwu Paschal Chukwudi, Sydney Mavengahama and Funso Raphael Kutu
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 467-476; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040032 - 30 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
It is necessary to identify the appropriate traits that influence yield in a given environment as part of a breeding programme. The objective of this study was to identify the morphological traits that contribute to maize grain weight (GWt) under abiotic stress conditions. [...] Read more.
It is necessary to identify the appropriate traits that influence yield in a given environment as part of a breeding programme. The objective of this study was to identify the morphological traits that contribute to maize grain weight (GWt) under abiotic stress conditions. Three drought-tolerant maize varieties were grown under no-stress (NHWS), heat-stress (HS), and combined heat- and water-stress (CHWS) conditions. Data from 19 morphological traits were analysed. The correlation results revealed that eight traits consistently produced a significant positive relationship with GWt under the three growth conditions. The path coefficient analysis revealed that in the NHWS, HS, and CHWS conditions, five traits consistently had a positive direct effect on the GWt. Given the magnitude of the positive direct effects, increasing dry biomass yield, harvest index, and grain number in the NHWS; grain number, harvest index, and ear width in the HS; and harvest index, days till silk appearance, leaf chlorophyll content, and grain number in the CHWS will increase GWt. Under various abiotic stress conditions, maize phenotypic expression varied. Therefore, the identified traits that contributed positively to GWt under various stress conditions should be considered when developing a maize improvement programme in a stress-prone environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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13 pages, 1177 KiB  
Article
Analyzing the Effects of Urban Photopollution on Photosynthetic Efficiency of Certain Trees through Chlorophyll Fluorescence OJIP Transient
by Deepak Kumar, Hanwant Singh, Upma Bhatt and Vineet Soni
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 437-449; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040030 - 23 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1844
Abstract
Trees in urban areas provide important ecosystem services and are an essential element of urban green space. The constant increase in artificial light from anthropogenic activities around the world creates photopollution that affects the phenology and physiology of plants. Here we conducted a [...] Read more.
Trees in urban areas provide important ecosystem services and are an essential element of urban green space. The constant increase in artificial light from anthropogenic activities around the world creates photopollution that affects the phenology and physiology of plants. Here we conducted a field study to investigate the anthropogenic impacts on six urban trees (Saraca asoca, Terminalia catappa, Bauhinia variegata, Holoptelea integrifolia, Ficus benjamina and Thevetia peruviana) using chlorophyll fluorescence analysis. OJIP curve, maximum quantum yield of primary photochemistry (ΦPo), quantum yield of electron transport (ΦEo), probability that an absorbed photon will be dissipated (ΦDo), photosynthetic performance index (PIcsm) and reaction center photochemistry were assessed. According to the results, various parameters of chlorophyll fluorescence showed significant and important effects on different tree species. T. peruviana and F. benjamina were found to be tolerant to street lighting, while on the other hand, S. asoca, T. catappa, B. variegata and H. integrifolia were found to be sensitive to artificial light induced by street lamps. This study clearly indicates that chlorophyll fluorescence analysis is a potent method for screening the tolerance of tree species to photopollution induced by artificial lights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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19 pages, 3751 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Trehalose and Trehalose 6-Phosphate to Improve Antioxidant Defense Mechanisms in Wheat and Mustard Seedlings under Salt and Water Deficit Stresses
by Sayed Mohammad Mohsin, Jannatul Fardus, Atsushi Nagata, Nobuhisa Tamano, Hirofumi Mitani and Masayuki Fujita
Stresses 2022, 2(3), 336-354; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2030024 - 5 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1698
Abstract
Trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) regulates sugar levels and starch metabolism in a plant cell and thus interacts with various signaling pathways, and after converting T6P into trehalose (Tre), it acts as a vital osmoprotectant under stress conditions. This study was conducted using wheat ( [...] Read more.
Trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) regulates sugar levels and starch metabolism in a plant cell and thus interacts with various signaling pathways, and after converting T6P into trehalose (Tre), it acts as a vital osmoprotectant under stress conditions. This study was conducted using wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Norin 61) and mustard (Brassica juncea L. cv. BARI sharisha 13) seedlings to investigate the role of Tre and T6P in improving salt and water deficit stress tolerance. The seedlings were grown hydroponically using Hyponex solution and exposed to salt (300 and 200 mM NaCl for wheat and mustard, respectively) and water deficit (20 and 12% PEG 6000 for wheat and mustard, respectively) stresses with or without Tre and T6P. The study demonstrated that salt and water deficit stress negatively influenced plant growth by destroying photosynthetic pigments and increasing oxidative damage. In response to salt and water deficit stresses, the generation of H2O2 increased by 114 and 67%, respectively, in wheat seedlings, while in mustard, it increased by 86 and 50%, respectively. Antioxidant defense systems were also altered by salt and water deficit stresses due to higher oxidative damage. The AsA content was reduced by 65 and 38% in wheat and 61 and 45% in mustard under salt and water deficit stresses, respectively. The subsequent negative results of salinity and water deficit can be overcome by exogenous application of Tre and T6P; these agents reduced the oxidative stress by decreasing H2O2 and TBARS levels and increasing enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Moreover, the application of Tre and T6P decreased the accumulation of Na in the shoots and roots of wheat and mustard seedlings. Therefore, the results suggest that the use of Tre and T6P is apromising strategy to alleviate osmotic and ionic toxicity in plants under salt and water deficit stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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14 pages, 3944 KiB  
Article
Effects of Phloem-Feeding Pest, Dalbulus maidis on Morphological Expression of Drought-Tolerant Traits in Maize
by Tara-Kay L. Jones, Raul F. Medina and Julio S. Bernal
Stresses 2022, 2(3), 322-335; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2030023 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1578
Abstract
Drought is amongst the most important stressors affecting maize production globally. Existing strategies to offset drought impacts are centered around the rapid development of drought-tolerant cultivars through plant breeding. However, under both current conditions and projected climate changes, additional stressors such as insect [...] Read more.
Drought is amongst the most important stressors affecting maize production globally. Existing strategies to offset drought impacts are centered around the rapid development of drought-tolerant cultivars through plant breeding. However, under both current conditions and projected climate changes, additional stressors such as insect pests will co-occur. To determine the impact of combined insect and drought stress on drought tolerance in maize, we assessed the effects of Dalbulus maidis, drought, and both stresses combined in drought-tolerant maize hybrids. We measured several maize morphological growth traits (i.e., plant height, stem diameter, shoot weight, root weight, root length, and root-to-shoot ratio) at the end of a 28-day period of pulse-stress and no-stress control exposure. We found that seedling growth declined when both stressors co-occurred. Nevertheless, drought-tolerant maize hybrids remained strongly tolerant to drought regardless of D. maidis infestation. While our results showed that drought tolerance is maintained in drought-tolerant maize seedlings, future studies should address any effects on maize yield. Our study highlights the importance of testing the combined effects of drought and insect stressors to better predict insect–plant interactions in the context of plant breeding for drought-tolerant traits in a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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14 pages, 1869 KiB  
Article
Nutrient Starvation Exposure Induced the Down-Regulation of Stress Responsive Genes and Selected Bioactive Metabolic Pathways in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
by Gennaro Riccio and Chiara Lauritano
Stresses 2022, 2(3), 308-321; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2030022 - 15 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1743
Abstract
The microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum is considered a model diatom. It is the second diatom whose genome was sequenced and the first one genetically engineered. This permits its use as a cell factory for the production of high-value compounds for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, biodiesel, [...] Read more.
The microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum is considered a model diatom. It is the second diatom whose genome was sequenced and the first one genetically engineered. This permits its use as a cell factory for the production of high-value compounds for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, biodiesel, and bioplastic applications. This study is focused on analyzing expression levels of enzymes involved in the synthesis of sulfoglycolipids and monogalactosyldiacylglycerols, compounds known to have anticancer and immunomodulatory activities, and genes coding antioxidant, heat shock and stress-responsive proteins, in various culturing conditions. Our data showed that both nutrient starvation and senescence induced the down-regulation of both sulfoglycolipid and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol synthesis-related genes and stress-responsive genes (compared to the replete condition), suggesting that the control condition, consisting of cells in the exponential phase in replete medium, is the condition with the highest expression of the genes of interest and worth of further bioactivity screening and chemical analyses for drug discovery and biotechnological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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18 pages, 1620 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification of the PYL Gene Family in Chenopodium quinoa: From Genes to Protein 3D Structure Analysis
by Gastón Alfredo Pizzio
Stresses 2022, 2(3), 290-307; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2030021 - 5 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2182
Abstract
The halophytic crop Chenopodium quinoa has a remarkable resistance to harsh growth conditions in suboptimal environments and marginal soils. Additionally, quinoa is a pseudocereal and produces seeds with outstanding nutritional value. Quinoa is an allotetraploid (2n = 4× = 36) with an estimated genome size [...] Read more.
The halophytic crop Chenopodium quinoa has a remarkable resistance to harsh growth conditions in suboptimal environments and marginal soils. Additionally, quinoa is a pseudocereal and produces seeds with outstanding nutritional value. Quinoa is an allotetraploid (2n = 4× = 36) with an estimated genome size of approximately 1.5 Gbp. In plants, the family of pyrabactin resistance 1 (PYR1)/PYR1-like (PYL)/regulatory components of ABA receptors (RCAR) play a vital role in the initial step of ABA signaling, leading to abiotic stress resistance. Here 20 CqPYL genes were identified using the genome-search method. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, these CqPYL genes were divided into three classes or subfamilies. These genes have different structures and intron numbers, even within the same subfamily. Analysis of conserved motifs showed the presence of the PYR_PYL_RCAR motif domain in each PYL protein sequence. Furthermore, the tissue-specific expression of CqPYLs was analyzed through public available RNA-seq data. CqPYL4a/b and CqPYL8c/d showed higher expression levels in seedlings. Finally, 3D structures of the CqPYL proteins were predicted by homology modeling and analyzed through topology inspection to speculate on putative new ABA receptor features. This study provides a theoretical basis for further functional study of PYL genes for stress-resistance breeding of quinoa and other crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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15 pages, 3218 KiB  
Article
A Highly Salt-Tolerant Bacterium Brevibacterium sediminis Promotes the Growth of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Seedlings
by Mahmud-Ur-Rahman, Iftekhar Bin Naser, Nur Uddin Mahmud, Aniruddha Sarker, M. Nazmul Hoque and Tofazzal Islam
Stresses 2022, 2(3), 275-289; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2030020 - 25 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3151
Abstract
Soil salinity has emerged as a serious issue for food security due to global climate change. It is estimated that currently about 62 million hectares or 20 percent of the world’s irrigated land is affected by salinity. Salinity is a serious problem in [...] Read more.
Soil salinity has emerged as a serious issue for food security due to global climate change. It is estimated that currently about 62 million hectares or 20 percent of the world’s irrigated land is affected by salinity. Salinity is a serious problem in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Isolation of salt-tolerant plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) and applying them as bioinoculants in crop plants are considered promising and effective biotechnological approaches to combat soil salinity. This study aimed to screen salt-tolerant PGPB from the root, leaf, and rhizospheric soils of rice plants collected from salt-affected coastal areas including Chattogram, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, and Cox’s Bazar districts of Bangladesh and evaluated their performances on the seedling growth of rice. Out of forty-one salinity-tolerant bacterial isolates screened, Brevibacterium sediminis showed salinity tolerance up to 12% NaCl (w/v). In vitro bioassay revealed that B. sediminis promoted the seedling growth of rice cv. BRRI dhan29 (salinity susceptible) and BINAdhan-10 (salinity tolerant), and the growth-promoting effects were higher in BINAdhan-10. This study for the first time identified B. sediminis strain IBGE3C as a salt-tolerant PGPB from a widely cultivated rice variety, BRRI dhan28 in the Lakshmipur district of Bangladesh. Our results suggest that salt-tolerant PGPB isolated from the root, leaf, and rhizospheric soil of rice plants could be used as a low cost and environmentally friendly option for overcoming the detrimental effects of salt stress on rice plants in the southern coastal regions of Bangladesh. However, further studies are needed for assessing the efficacy of B. sediminis on enhancement of salinity tolerance, and growth and yield of rice under salinity stressed conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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8 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Response of Yam (Dioscorea alata) to the Application of Rhizophagus irregularis and Potassium Silicate under Salinity Stress
by Meenakshi Sharma, Anil Kumar Delta and Prashant Kaushik
Stresses 2022, 2(2), 234-241; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2020017 - 20 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1911
Abstract
Yam (Dioscorea alata) is a tropical plant that is considered critical for food security. The use of high fertilizer, low soil fertility, and insect pest infestation reduce yam tuber yield and quality. The present study was performed to determine the effect [...] Read more.
Yam (Dioscorea alata) is a tropical plant that is considered critical for food security. The use of high fertilizer, low soil fertility, and insect pest infestation reduce yam tuber yield and quality. The present study was performed to determine the effect of potassium silicate and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on yam cultivated under salinity stress. This study revealed that the combination of Rhizophagus irregularis (AMF) and Potassium silicate was more effective than their individual application on yam and were beneficial for overall analyzed characters. We observed the days to emergence and the average days to first leaf emergence decreased by 33.46% and 26.78%, respectively, the number of leaves increased by 45.23%, number of sprouts per seed tuber by 50%, vine length by 60.8%, vine length at harvest by 40.53%, the average leaf width by 53.79%, petiole length by 31.74%, tuber length by 43.84%, average diameter of tuber by 56.58%, and average number of tuber per vine by 46.15% in T5 treated plants. We also recorded that starch content increased by 21.89%, ascorbic acid by 61.51%, average moisture by 8.36%, TSS by 50%, and total sugar by 69.53% in T5 treated plants. The total phenol was found to be 1.53% higher in T3 applied plants, while the dry matter was 36.37% higher in T5 treatment. Furthermore, the enzymatic evaluation of MDA in leaves was found to be enhanced by 142% in T2. The enzyme 8-OHdG from the leaves sample was reported to be increased after T5 by 621.15%. Moreover, the amount of CAT was higher by 53.46% in T2 treated plants. Likewise, the amount of enzyme SOD and POX in leaves of D. alata enhanced by 30.91% and 51.15% T2 treatments respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)

Review

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20 pages, 2559 KiB  
Review
Role of Lignin in Wheat Plant for the Enhancement of Resistance against Lodging and Biotic and Abiotic Stresses
by Muhammad Waheed Riaz, Muhammad Irfan Yousaf, Quaid Hussain, Muhammad Yasir, Muhammad Sajjad and Liaqat Shah
Stresses 2023, 3(2), 434-453; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3020032 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3461
Abstract
Lignification is a vital function in plants for improving tolerance against stressors. This article presents studies conducted on the relationship of wheat straw lignin with enhanced plant adaptation against lodging and stressors. Herein, we provide a thorough discussion of the chemical structure and [...] Read more.
Lignification is a vital function in plants for improving tolerance against stressors. This article presents studies conducted on the relationship of wheat straw lignin with enhanced plant adaptation against lodging and stressors. Herein, we provide a thorough discussion of the chemical structure and lignin composition of straw and its alteration and uses. Lignin plays a critical role in withstanding harsh environments (biotic and abiotic). Resistance to accommodation in wheat also plays a critical role. Lignin can also produce several products, e.g., costly petroleum-based materials and other vital products, such as resins and composites, and new materials, such as biofuels and chemicals. In this study, wheat straw lignification analysis highlighted that lignin formation regulates cellulose and hemicellulose biosynthesis. In addition, the analysis showed considerable encouragement of lignin growth inside wheat straw and the formation of lignin interfaces, as for cellulose and hemicellulose. Wheat straw lignin is an important source of many essential bioactive moieties, particularly lignocelluloses, straw-based biofuels, and various chemicals. We also explored the molecular tools that influence lignin formation in wheat and the significant strides taken in broadening our understanding of nanotechnology tools. This knowledge could assist in the development of advanced wheat cultivars, increase lignin content, and strengthen feedstock efficiency, reducing the impact of other lignin-associated agronomic gains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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25 pages, 4272 KiB  
Review
Elicitation of Fruit Fungi Infection and Its Protective Response to Improve the Postharvest Quality of Fruits
by Ambreen Bano, Anmol Gupta, Manas Ranjan Prusty and Manoj Kumar
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 231-255; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010018 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 9384
Abstract
Fruit diseases brought on by fungus infestation leads to postharvest losses of fresh fruit. Approximately 30% of harvested fruits do not reach consumers’ plates due to postharvest losses. Fungal pathogens play a substantial part in those losses, as they cause the majority of [...] Read more.
Fruit diseases brought on by fungus infestation leads to postharvest losses of fresh fruit. Approximately 30% of harvested fruits do not reach consumers’ plates due to postharvest losses. Fungal pathogens play a substantial part in those losses, as they cause the majority of fruit rots and consumer complaints. Understanding fungal pathogenic processes and control measures is crucial for developing disease prevention and treatment strategies. In this review, we covered the presented pathogen entry, environmental conditions for pathogenesis, fruit’s response to pathogen attack, molecular mechanisms by which fungi infect fruits in the postharvest phase, production of mycotoxin, virulence factors, fungal genes involved in pathogenesis, and recent strategies for protecting fruit from fungal attack. Then, in order to investigate new avenues for ensuring fruit production, existing fungal management strategies were then assessed based on their mechanisms for altering the infection process. The goal of this review is to bridge the knowledge gap between the mechanisms of fungal disease progression and numerous disease control strategies being developed for fruit farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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19 pages, 1332 KiB  
Review
Beneficial Microorganisms as a Sustainable Alternative for Mitigating Biotic Stresses in Crops
by Ana María García-Montelongo, Amelia C. Montoya-Martínez, Pamela Helue Morales-Sandoval, Fannie Isela Parra-Cota and Sergio de los Santos-Villalobos
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 210-228; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010016 - 15 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
Nowadays, population growth, the global temperature increase, and the appearance of emerging diseases in important crops generate uncertainty regarding world food security. The use of agrochemicals has been the “go-to” solution for the control of phytopathogenic microorganisms, such as Magnaporte oryzae, causing [...] Read more.
Nowadays, population growth, the global temperature increase, and the appearance of emerging diseases in important crops generate uncertainty regarding world food security. The use of agrochemicals has been the “go-to” solution for the control of phytopathogenic microorganisms, such as Magnaporte oryzae, causing blast disease in rice and other cereals; Botrytis cinerea, causing gray mold in over 500 plant species; and Puccinia spp., causing rust in cereals. However, their excessive use has harmed human health, as well as ecosystems (contaminating water, and contributing to soil degradation); besides, phytopathogens can develop resistance to them. The inoculation of plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) to crops is a sustainable strategy for increasing the yield and quality of crops and mitigating biotic stresses. Likewise, PGPMs, such as Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Trichoderma, can trigger a series of signals and reactions in the plant that lead to the induction of systemic resistance, a mechanism by which plants react to microorganism stimulation by activating their defense system, resulting in protection against future pathogen attack. These plant defense mechanisms help to mitigate biotic stresses that threaten global food security. Thus, the study of these mechanisms at molecular, transcriptomic, and metabolomic levels is indispensable to elucidate how stresses affect globally important crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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17 pages, 1553 KiB  
Review
Maize Breeding for Low Nitrogen Inputs in Agriculture: Mechanisms Underlying the Tolerance to the Abiotic Stress
by Talles de Oliveira Santos, Antônio Teixeira do Amaral Junior and Monique Moreira Moulin
Stresses 2023, 3(1), 136-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses3010011 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3993
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) is essential for sustaining life on Earth and plays a vital role in plant growth and thus agricultural production. The excessive use of N fertilizers not only harms the economy, but also the environment. In the context of the environmental impacts [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) is essential for sustaining life on Earth and plays a vital role in plant growth and thus agricultural production. The excessive use of N fertilizers not only harms the economy, but also the environment. In the context of the environmental impacts caused by agriculture, global maize improvement programs aim to develop cultivars with high N-use efficiency (NUE) to reduce the use of N fertilizers. Since N is highly mobile in plants, NUE is related to numerous little-known morphophysiological and molecular mechanisms. In this review paper we present an overview of the morpho-physiological adaptations of shoot and root, molecular mechanisms involved in plant response to low nitrogen environment, and the genetic effects involved in the control of key traits for NUE. Some studies show that the efficiency of cultivars growing under low N is related to deep root architecture, more lateral roots (LR), and sparser branching of LR, resulting in lower metabolic costs. The NUE cultivars also exhibit more efficient photosynthesis, which affects plant growth under suboptimal nitrogen conditions. In this sense, obtaining superior genotypes for NUE can be achieved with the exploitation of heterosis, as non-additive effects are more important in the expression of traits associated with NUE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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19 pages, 1747 KiB  
Review
Mechanisms of Stress Tolerance in Cyanobacteria under Extreme Conditions
by Priya Yadav, Rahul Prasad Singh, Shashank Rana, Diksha Joshi, Dharmendra Kumar, Nikunj Bhardwaj, Rajan Kumar Gupta and Ajay Kumar
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 531-549; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040036 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6226
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are oxygen-evolving photoautotrophs with worldwide distribution in every possible habitat, and they account for half of the global primary productivity. Because of their ability to thrive in a hostile environment, cyanobacteria are categorized as “extremophiles”. They have evolved a fascinating repository of [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are oxygen-evolving photoautotrophs with worldwide distribution in every possible habitat, and they account for half of the global primary productivity. Because of their ability to thrive in a hostile environment, cyanobacteria are categorized as “extremophiles”. They have evolved a fascinating repository of distinct secondary metabolites and biomolecules to promote their development and survival in various habitats, including severe conditions. However, developing new proteins/enzymes and metabolites is mostly directed by an appropriate gene regulation system that results in stress adaptations. However, only few proteins have been characterized to date that have the potential to improve resistance against abiotic stresses. As a result, studying environmental stress responses to post-genomic analysis, such as proteome changes using latest structural proteomics and synthetic biology techniques, is critical. In this regard, scientists working on these topics will benefit greatly from the stress of proteomics research. Progress in these disciplines will aid in understanding cyanobacteria’s physiology, biochemical, and metabolic systems. This review summarizes the most recent key findings of cyanobacterial proteome study under various abiotic stresses and the application of secondary metabolites formed during different abiotic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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22 pages, 755 KiB  
Review
CRISPR-Cas Genome Editing for Insect Pest Stress Management in Crop Plants
by Tasfia Tasnim Moon, Ishrat Jahan Maliha, Abdullah Al Moin Khan, Moutoshi Chakraborty, Md Sharaf Uddin, Md Ruhul Amin and Tofazzal Islam
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 493-514; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040034 - 7 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4618
Abstract
Global crop yield and food security are being threatened by phytophagous insects. Innovative methods are required to increase agricultural output while reducing reliance on hazardous synthetic insecticides. Using the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas technology to develop insect-resistant plants appears to be highly efficient at lowering [...] Read more.
Global crop yield and food security are being threatened by phytophagous insects. Innovative methods are required to increase agricultural output while reducing reliance on hazardous synthetic insecticides. Using the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas technology to develop insect-resistant plants appears to be highly efficient at lowering production costs and increasing farm profitability. The genomes of both a model insect, Drosophila melanogaster, and major phytophagous insect genera, viz. Spodoptera, Helicoverpa, Nilaparvata, Locusta, Tribolium, Agrotis, etc., were successfully edited by the CRISPR-Cas toolkits. This new method, however, has the ability to alter an insect’s DNA in order to either induce a gene drive or overcome an insect’s tolerance to certain insecticides. The rapid progress in the methodologies of CRISPR technology and their diverse applications show a high promise in the development of insect-resistant plant varieties or other strategies for the sustainable management of insect pests to ensure food security. This paper reviewed and critically discussed the use of CRISPR-Cas genome-editing technology in long-term insect pest management. The emphasis of this review was on the prospective uses of the CRISPR-Cas system for insect stress management in crop production through the creation of genome-edited crop plants or insects. The potential and the difficulties of using CRISPR-Cas technology to reduce pest stress in crop plants were critically examined and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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10 pages, 575 KiB  
Review
Towards Sustainable Maize Production: Understanding the Morpho-Physiological, Genetics, and Molecular Mechanisms for Tolerance to Low Soil Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium
by David Sewordor Gaikpa, John Opata and Isaac Kwadwo Mpanga
Stresses 2022, 2(4), 395-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2040028 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2149
Abstract
Maize is one of the globally most important cereal crops used for food, feed and fuel. It requires optimum soil nutrients such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) for proper growth and development as well as for tolerance to biotic and [...] Read more.
Maize is one of the globally most important cereal crops used for food, feed and fuel. It requires optimum soil nutrients such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) for proper growth and development as well as for tolerance to biotic and other abiotic stresses. Yield potentials are not met under suboptimal soil fertility. One of the innovations that can reduce environmental impacts of continuous fertilization and lower the cost of maize production under low soil nutrient conditions is the development and use of tolerant cultivars. This paper provides spotlights on the following: (1) morphology and physiology of root and shoot systems; (2) genetics and genomics; and (3) transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome profiles, to elucidate maize tolerance to low amounts of soil nutrients, N, P, and K. Maize cultivars having deeper rooting structure, more lateral roots, dense roots, and high root exudates are more tolerant to N, P, and K limited conditions. Cultivars that are tolerant to N, P, and K stress (low) have high nutrient use efficiency, good photosynthetic and translocation activity that support high aboveground shoot weight under suboptimal N, P, and K conditions. Maize tolerance to N, P, and K stress (low) is quantitative, and mainly controlled by additive genes. Maize cultivar development and dissemination programs can exploit the mechanisms highlighted in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Stress Tolerance)
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