Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 969–987 | Cite as

Signal transduction during cold, salt, and drought stresses in plants

  • Guo-Tao Huang
  • Shi-Liang Ma
  • Li-Ping Bai
  • Li Zhang
  • Hui Ma
  • Ping Jia
  • Jun Liu
  • Ming ZhongEmail author
  • Zhi-Fu GuoEmail author


Abiotic stresses, especially cold, salinity and drought, are the primary causes of crop loss worldwide. Plant adaptation to environmental stresses is dependent upon the activation of cascades of molecular networks involved in stress perception, signal transduction, and the expression of specific stress-related genes and metabolites. Plants have stress-specific adaptive responses as well as responses which protect the plants from more than one environmental stress. There are multiple stress perception and signaling pathways, some of which are specific, but others may cross-talk at various steps. In this review article, we first expound the general stress signal transduction pathways, and then highlight various aspects of biotic stresses signal transduction networks. On the genetic analysis, many cold induced pathways are activated to protect plants from deleterious effects of cold stress, but till date, most studied pathway is ICE-CBF-COR signaling pathway. The Salt-Overly-Sensitive (SOS) pathway, identified through isolation and study of the sos1, sos2, and sos3 mutants, is essential for maintaining favorable ion ratios in the cytoplasm and for tolerance of salt stress. Both ABA-dependent and -independent signaling pathways appear to be involved in osmotic stress tolerance. ROS play a dual role in the response of plants to abiotic stresses functioning as toxic by-products of stress metabolism, as well as important signal transduction molecules and the ROS signaling networks can control growth, development, and stress response. Finally, we talk about the common regulatory system and cross-talk among biotic stresses, with particular emphasis on the MAPK cascades and the cross-talk between ABA signaling and biotic signaling.


Abiotic stress Signaling Crosstalk ICE SOS ABA 



We express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments to improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30900894 and 31070448), the Startup Foundation for Doctors of Liaoning province in China (Grant No. 20091069) and the Funding (A type) from Research Program of Education Department in Liaoning province (Grant No. L2010486).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guo-Tao Huang
    • 1
  • Shi-Liang Ma
    • 1
  • Li-Ping Bai
    • 1
  • Li Zhang
    • 2
  • Hui Ma
    • 1
  • Ping Jia
    • 1
  • Jun Liu
    • 3
  • Ming Zhong
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zhi-Fu Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Bioscience and BiotechnologyShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Agricultural Biotechnology of Liaoning ProvinceShenyangChina
  3. 3.Dandong Academy of Agricultural SciencesDandongChina

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