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Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Oct;6(10):1503-9. doi: 10.4161/psb.6.10.17088. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

Plant dehydrins and stress tolerance: versatile proteins for complex mechanisms.

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Laboratory of Plant Protection and Improvement, Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia.


Dehydrins (DHNs), or group 2 LEA (Late Embryogenesis Abundant) proteins, play a fundamental role in plant response and adaptation to abiotic stresses. They accumulate typically in maturing seeds or are induced in vegetative tissues following salinity, dehydration, cold, and freezing stress. The generally accepted classification of dehydrins is based on their structural features, such as the presence of conserved sequences, designated as Y, S, and K segments. The K segment representing a highly conserved 15 amino acid motif forming amphiphilic α-helix is especially important since it has been found in all dehydrins. Since more than 20 years, they are thought to play an important protective role during cellular dehydration but their precise function remains unclear. This review outlines the current status of the progress made towards the structural, physico-chemical and functional characterization of plant dehydrins and how these features could be exploited in improving stress tolerance in plants. 

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