Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 126, Issue 2–3, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Stress-related hormones and glycinebetaine interplay in protection of photosynthesis under abiotic stress conditions

  • Leonid V. KurepinEmail author
  • Alexander G. IvanovEmail author
  • Mohammad Zaman
  • Richard P. Pharis
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
  • Vaughan Hurry
  • Norman P. A. Hüner


Plants subjected to abiotic stresses such as extreme high and low temperatures, drought or salinity, often exhibit decreased vegetative growth and reduced reproductive capabilities. This is often associated with decreased photosynthesis via an increase in photoinhibition, and accompanied by rapid changes in endogenous levels of stress-related hormones such as abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA) and ethylene. However, certain plant species and/or genotypes exhibit greater tolerance to abiotic stress because they are capable of accumulating endogenous levels of the zwitterionic osmolyte—glycinebetaine (GB). The accumulation of GB via natural production, exogenous application or genetic engineering, enhances plant osmoregulation and thus increases abiotic stress tolerance. The final steps of GB biosynthesis occur in chloroplasts where GB has been shown to play a key role in increasing the protection of soluble stromal and lumenal enzymes, lipids and proteins, of the photosynthetic apparatus. In addition, we suggest that the stress-induced GB biosynthesis pathway may well serve as an additional or alternative biochemical sink, one which consumes excess photosynthesis-generated electrons, thus protecting photosynthetic apparatus from overreduction. Glycinebetaine biosynthesis in chloroplasts is up-regulated by increases in endogenous ABA or SA levels. In this review, we propose and discuss a model describing the close interaction and synergistic physiological effects of GB and ABA in the process of cold acclimation of higher plants.


Abscisic acid Cold acclimation Glycinebetaine Environmental stress Photosynthetic apparatus Plant hormones 



We would like to acknowledge the financial support from the Ballance Agri-Nutrients, New Zealand (MZ, LVK, RPP), KEMPE Foundation, Sweden (VMH, LVK, NPAH), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NPAH), the Canada Research Chairs Program (NPAH) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (NPAH). SIA was supported by Grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Nos: 14-04-01549, 14-04-92690) and by Molecular and Cell Biology Programs of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonid V. Kurepin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alexander G. Ivanov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammad Zaman
    • 3
  • Richard P. Pharis
    • 4
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Vaughan Hurry
    • 2
  • Norman P. A. Hüner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology and The Biotron Center for Experimental Climate Change ResearchUniversity of Western Ontario (Western University)LondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå Plant Science CentreUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Department of Nuclear Sciences and ApplicationsInternational Atomic Energy AgencyViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  5. 5.Institute of Plant PhysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  6. 6.Institute of Basic Biological ProblemsRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  7. 7.Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of BiologyM. V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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