Responses to environmental stresses in woody plants: key to survive and longevity
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- Osakabe, Y., Kawaoka, A., Nishikubo, N. et al. J Plant Res (2012) 125: 1. doi:10.1007/s10265-011-0446-6
Environmental stresses have adverse effects on plant growth and productivity, and are predicted to become more severe and widespread in decades to come. Especially, prolonged and repeated severe stresses affecting growth and development would bring down long-lasting effects in woody plants as a result of its long-term growth period. To counteract these effects, trees have evolved specific mechanisms for acclimation and tolerance to environmental stresses. Plant growth and development are regulated by the integration of many environmental and endogenous signals including plant hormones. Acclimation of land plants to environmental stresses is controlled by molecular cascades, also involving cross-talk with other stresses and plant hormone signaling mechanisms. This review focuses on recent studies on molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress responses in woody plants, functions of plant hormones in wood formation, and the interconnection of cell wall biosynthesis and the mechanisms shown above. Understanding of these mechanisms in depth should shed light on the factors for improvement of woody plants to overcome severe environmental stress conditions.