, Volume 254, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Abscisic-acid-dependent basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors in plant abiotic stress

  • Aditya Banerjee
  • Aryadeep Roychoudhury
Review Article


One of the major causes of significant crop loss throughout the world is the myriad of environmental stresses including drought, salinity, cold, heavy metal toxicity, and ultraviolet-B (UV-B) rays. Plants as sessile organisms have evolved various effective mechanism which enable them to withstand this plethora of stresses. Most of such regulatory mechanisms usually follow the abscisic-acid (ABA)-dependent pathway. In this review, we have primarily focussed on the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors (TFs) activated by the ABA-mediated signalosome. Upon perception of ABA by specialized receptors, the signal is transduced via various groups of Ser/Thr kinases, which phosphorylate the bZIP TFs. Following such post-translational modification of TFs, they are activated so that they bind to specific cis-acting sequences called abscisic-acid-responsive elements (ABREs) or GC-rich coupling elements (CE), thereby influencing the expression of their target downstream genes. Several in silico techniques have been adopted so far to predict the structural features, recognize the regulatory modification sites, undergo phylogenetic analyses, and facilitate genome-wide survey of TF under multiple stresses. Current investigations on the epigenetic regulation that controls greater accessibility of the inducible regions of DNA of the target gene to the bZIP TFs exclusively under stress situations, along with the evolved stress memory responses via genomic imprinting mechanism, have been highlighted. The potentiality of overexpression of bZIP TFs, either in a homologous or in a heterologous background, in generating transgenic plants tolerant to various abiotic stressors have also been addressed by various groups. The present review will provide a coherent documentation on the functional characterization and regulation of bZIP TFs under multiple environmental stresses, with the major goal of generating multiple-stress-tolerant plant cultivars in near future.


Abscisic-acid Epigenetics In silico analyses Basic leucine zipper Transcription factors Transgenic plants 



Financial support from Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Government of India through the research grant (SR/FT/LS-65/2010) and from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India through the major grant [38(1387)/14/EMR-II] to Dr. Aryadeep Roychoudhury is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest for publication of this manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Post Graduate Department of BiotechnologySt. Xavier’s College (Autonomous)KolkataIndia

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