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Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 201–218 | Cite as

Photosynthesis and antioxidative defense mechanisms in deciphering drought stress tolerance of crop plants

  • D. Easwar Rao
  • K. V. Chaitanya
Review

Abstract

Crop plants are regularly exposed to an array of abiotic and biotic stresses, among them drought stress is a major environmental factor that shows adverse effects on plant growth and productivity. Because of this these factors are considered as hazardous for crop production. Drought stress elicits a plethora of responses in plants resulting in strict amendments in physiological, biochemical, and molecular processes. Photosynthesis is the most fundamental physiological process affected by drought due to a reduction in the CO2 assimilation rate and disruption of primary photosynthetic reactions and pigments. Drought also expedites the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), triggering a cascade of antioxidative defense mechanisms, and affects many other metabolic processes as well as affecting gene expression. Details of the drought stress-induced changes, particularly in crop plants, are discussed in this review, with the major points: 1) leaf water potentials and water use efficiency in plants under drought stress; 2) increased production of ROS under drought leading to oxidative stress in plants and the role of ROS as signaling molecules; 3) molecular responses that lead to the enhanced expression of stress-inducible genes; 4) the decrease in photosynthesis leading to the decreased amount of assimilates, growth, and yield; 5) the antioxidant defense mechanisms comprising of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and the other protective mechanisms; 6) progress made in identifying the drought stress tolerance mechanisms; 7) the production of transgenic crop plants with enhanced tolerance to drought stress.

Additional key words

abiotic stresses antioxidants chlorophyll net photosynthetic rate osmolytes PEPC ROS RuBPC water use efficiency 

Abbreviations

AA

ascorbic acid

ABA

abscisic acid

APX

ascorbate peroxidase

C2H2

zinc finger domain

DREB

dehydration-responsive element binding

DRO

deeper rooting

GB

glycine betaine

GR

glutathione reductase

GRAS

gibberellic-acid insensitive repressor

GSH

glutathione

GSSG

glutathione disulfide

LEA

late embryogenesis abundant

MDA

monodehydroascorbate

MDHAR

monodehydroascorbate reductase

MYB

myeloblastosis

NADP-ME

nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate malic enzyme

NAR

net assimilation rate

NCED

9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase

NPR

natriuretic peptide receptor

PCR

pentose carbon reduction

PEPC

phosphoenolpyruvare carboxylase

PPDK

phosphopyruvate dikinase

PS

photosystem

ROS

reactive oxygen species

RWC

relative water content

SOD

superoxide dismutase

SPS

sucrose phosphate synthase

STZ

salt tolerant zinc finger protein

WRKY

transcription factor with conserved sequence

WUE

water use efficiency

YUC

yucasin

ZAT

zinc transporter

ZFP

zinc finger proteins

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyGIT, GITAM UniversityVisakhapatnamIndia

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