Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 14, pp 10375–10394 | Cite as

Superoxide dismutase—mentor of abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants

  • Sarvajeet Singh GillEmail author
  • Naser A. AnjumEmail author
  • Ritu Gill
  • Sandeep Yadav
  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
  • Masayuki Fujita
  • Panchanand Mishra
  • Surendra C. Sabat
  • Narendra TutejaEmail author
Review Article


Abiotic stresses impact growth, development, and productivity, and significantly limit the global agricultural productivity mainly by impairing cellular physiology/biochemistry via elevating reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. If not metabolized, ROS (such as O2 •−, OH, H2O2, or 1O2) exceeds the status of antioxidants and cause damage to DNA, proteins, lipids, and other macromolecules, and finally cellular metabolism arrest. Plants are endowed with a family of enzymes called superoxide dismutases (SODs) that protects cells against potential consequences caused by cytotoxic O2 •− by catalyzing its conversion to O2 and H2O2. Hence, SODs constitute the first line of defense against abiotic stress-accrued enhanced ROS and its reaction products. In the light of recent reports, the present effort: (a) overviews abiotic stresses, ROS, and their metabolism; (b) introduces and discusses SODs and their types, significance, and appraises abiotic stress-mediated modulation in plants; (c) analyzes major reports available on genetic engineering of SODs in plants; and finally, (d) highlights major aspects so far least studied in the current context. Literature appraised herein reflects clear information paucity in context with the molecular/genetic insights into the major functions (and underlying mechanisms) performed by SODs, and also with the regulation of SODs by post-translational modifications. If the previous aspects are considered in the future works, the outcome can be significant in sustainably improving plant abiotic stress tolerance and efficiently managing agricultural challenges under changing climatic conditions.


Abiotic stresses Reactive oxygen species Oxidative stress Superoxide dismutase SOD genetic engineering 



SSG, RG, and NT would like to acknowledge the receipt of funds from DST, CSIR, and UGC, Govt. of India, New Delhi. NAA (SFRH/BPD/84671/2012) is grateful to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Aveiro University Research Institute/Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) (UID/AMB/50017/2013) for partial financial supports. The authors apologize if some references related to the main theme of the current review could not be cited due to space constraint.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stress Physiology and Molecular Biology Lab, Centre for BiotechnologyMD UniversityRohtakIndia
  2. 2.CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies and Department of ChemistryUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Plant Molecular Biology GroupInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)New DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversitySher-e-Bangla NagarBangladesh
  5. 5.Department of Applied Biological Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Laboratory of Plant Stress ResponsesKagawa UniversityKagawaJapan
  6. 6.Stress Biology Laboratory, Gene Function and RegulationInstitute of Life SciencesBhubaneswarIndia

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