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Front Plant Sci. 2014 May 19;5:207. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00207. eCollection 2014.

Enhancing crop resilience to combined abiotic and biotic stress through the dissection of physiological and molecular crosstalk.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands.

Abstract

Plants growing in their natural habitats are often challenged simultaneously by multiple stress factors, both abiotic and biotic. Research has so far been limited to responses to individual stresses, and understanding of adaptation to combinatorial stress is limited, but indicative of non-additive interactions. Omics data analysis and functional characterization of individual genes has revealed a convergence of signaling pathways for abiotic and biotic stress adaptation. Taking into account that most data originate from imposition of individual stress factors, this review summarizes these findings in a physiological context, following the pathogenesis timeline and highlighting potential differential interactions occurring between abiotic and biotic stress signaling across the different cellular compartments and at the whole plant level. Potential effects of abiotic stress on resistance components such as extracellular receptor proteins, R-genes and systemic acquired resistance will be elaborated, as well as crosstalk at the levels of hormone, reactive oxygen species, and redox signaling. Breeding targets and strategies are proposed focusing on either manipulation and deployment of individual common regulators such as transcription factors or pyramiding of non- (negatively) interacting components such as R-genes with abiotic stress resistance genes. We propose that dissection of broad spectrum stress tolerance conferred by priming chemicals may provide an insight on stress cross regulation and additional candidate genes for improving crop performance under combined stress. Validation of the proposed strategies in lab and field experiments is a first step toward the goal of achieving tolerance to combinatorial stress in crops.

KEYWORDS:

R-genes; crosstalk; disease resistance; drought; hormones; post-translational modifications; salinity; transcription factors

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