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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008 Mar 15;471(2):146-58. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Calcium- and salt-stress signaling in plants: shedding light on SOS pathway.

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Plant Molecular Biology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110 067, India.


As salt stress imposes a major environmental threat to agriculture, understanding the basic physiology and genetics of cell under salt stress is crucial for developing any transgenic strategy. Salt Overly Sensitive (SOS) genes (SOS1-SOS3) were isolated through positional cloning. Since sos mutants are hypersensitive to salt, their characterization resulted in the discovery of a novel pathway, which has helped in our understanding the mechanism of salt-stress tolerance in plants. Genetic analysis confirmed that SOS1-SOS3 function in a common pathway of salt tolerance. This pathway also emphasizes the significance of Ca2+ signal in reinstating cellular ion homeostasis. SOS3, a Ca2+ sensor, transduces the signal downstream after activating and interacting with SOS2 protein kinase. This SOS3-SOS2 complex activates the Na+/H+ antiporter activity of SOS1 thereby reestablish cellular ion homeostasis. Recently, SOS4 and SOS5 have also been characterized. SOS4 encodes a pyridoxal (PL) kinase that is involved in the biosynthesis of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP), an active form of vitamin B6. SOS5 has been shown to be a putative cell surface adhesion protein that is required for normal cell expansion. Under salt stress, the normal growth and expansion of a plant cell becomes even more important and SOS5 helps in the maintenance of cell wall integrity and architecture. In this review we focus on the recent advances in salt stress and SOS signaling pathway. A broad coverage of the discovery of SOS mutants, structural aspect of these genes and the latest developments in the field of SOS1-SOS5 has been described.

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