, Volume 231, Issue 6, pp 1237–1249 | Cite as

Polyamines: molecules with regulatory functions in plant abiotic stress tolerance

  • Rubén Alcázar
  • Teresa Altabella
  • Francisco Marco
  • Cristina Bortolotti
  • Matthieu Reymond
  • Csaba Koncz
  • Pedro Carrasco
  • Antonio F. TiburcioEmail author


Early studies on plant polyamine research pointed to their involvement in responses to different environmental stresses. During the last few years, genetic, transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches have unravelled key functions of different polyamines in the regulation of abiotic stress tolerance. Nevertheless, the precise molecular mechanism(s) by which polyamines control plant responses to stress stimuli are largely unknown. Recent studies indicate that polyamine signalling is involved in direct interactions with different metabolic routes and intricate hormonal cross-talks. Here we discuss the integration of polyamines with other metabolic pathways by focusing on molecular mechanisms of their action in abiotic stress tolerance. Recent advances in the cross talk between polyamines and abscisic acid are discussed and integrated with processes of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signalling, generation of nitric oxide, modulation of ion channel activities and Ca2+ homeostasis, amongst others.


Polyamine metabolism Abiotic stress Plant tolerance Abscisic acid Signalling 



Abscisic acid


Amino cyclopropane carboxylic acid




Arginine decarboxylase


Agmatine iminohydrolase


N-Carbamoyl putrescine amidohydrolase


Diamine oxidase




Decarboxylated SAM


Flavin adenine dinucleotide


γ-Aminobutyric acid


Lysine-specific demethylase


Nitric oxide


Ornithine decarboxylase


Polyamine oxidase






S-Adenosyl methionine


S-Adenosyl methionine decaboxylase


Reactive oxygen species


Spermine oxidase




Spermidine synthase




Spermine synthase


Tricarboxylic acid





We apologize to the researchers, whose works are not cited in this review due to space limitation. We are grateful to our past and present colleagues. Our research was supported by grants from the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Spain (BIO2005-09252-C02-01 and BIO2008-05493-C02-01) and the Comissionat per Universitats i Recerca (Generalitat de Catalunya, SGR2009-1060). AFT, CK, MR, RA and PC also acknowledge grants-in-aid from COST-Action FA0605.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rubén Alcázar
    • 2
  • Teresa Altabella
    • 1
  • Francisco Marco
    • 3
  • Cristina Bortolotti
    • 1
  • Matthieu Reymond
    • 2
  • Csaba Koncz
    • 2
  • Pedro Carrasco
    • 4
  • Antonio F. Tiburcio
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departament de Productes Naturals, Biologia Vegetal i Edafologia, Facultat de FarmàciaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Max-Planck Institut für ZüchtungsforschungCologneGermany
  3. 3.Fundacion CEAMValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Ciències BiològiquesUniversitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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