Plant Biotechnology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 77–92 | Cite as

Nitric oxide-induced salt stress tolerance in plants: ROS metabolism, signaling, and molecular interactions

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
  • Hirosuke Oku
  • Kamrun Nahar
  • M. H. M. Borhannuddin Bhuyan
  • Jubayer Al Mahmud
  • Frantisek Baluska
  • Masayuki Fujita


Nitric oxide (NO), a non-charged, small, gaseous free-radical, is a signaling molecule in all plant cells. Several studies have proposed multifarious physiological roles for NO, from seed germination to plant maturation and senescence. Nitric oxide is thought to act as an antioxidant, quenching ROS during oxidative stress and reducing lipid peroxidation. NO also mediates photosynthesis and stomatal conductance and regulates programmed cell death, thus providing tolerance to abiotic stress. In mitochondria, NO participates in the electron transport pathway. Nitric oxide synthase and nitrate reductase are the key enzymes involved in NO-biosynthesis in aerobic plants, but non-enzymatic pathways have been reported as well. Nitric oxide can interact with a broad range of molecules, leading to the modification of protein activity, GSH biosynthesis, S-nitrosylation, peroxynitrite formation, proline accumulation, etc., to sustain stress tolerance. In addition to these interactions, NO interacts with fatty acids to form nitro-fatty acids as signals for antioxidant defense. Polyamines and NO interact positively to increase polyamine content and activity. A large number of genes are reprogrammed by NO; among these genes, proline metabolism genes are upregulated. Exogenous NO application is also shown to be involved in salinity tolerance and/or resistance via growth promotion, reversing oxidative damage and maintaining ion homeostasis. This review highlights NO-mediated salinity-stress tolerance in plants, including NO biosynthesis, regulation, and signaling. Nitric oxide-mediated ROS metabolism, antioxidant defense, and gene expression and the interactions of NO with other bioactive molecules are also discussed. We conclude the review with a discussion of unsolved issues and suggestions for future research.


Abiotic stress Antioxidant defense Glutathione Hydrogen sulfide Polyamines Stress tolerance 



Abscisic acid


Ascorbate peroxidase




Adenosine triphosphate






Dehydroascorbate reductase




Glutathione peroxidase




Glutathione reductase




GSNO reductase


Glutathione S-transferase


Hydrogen sulfide


Mitogen-activated protein kinase




Monodehydroascorbate reductase




Nitro-fatty acids


Nitric oxide


NO synthase


Nitrate reductase




Programmed cell death


Plasma membrane


Guiacol peroxidase


Post-translational modification


Reactive oxygen species


Reactive nitrogen species


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase




Sodium nitroprusside


Superoxide dismutase


Xanthine oxidoreductase



We thank Ms. Khursheda Parvin and Abdul Awal Chowdhury Masud for their critical reading of the manuscript. The first author acknowledges Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) for providing research grants.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Plant Biotechnology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hirosuke Oku
    • 1
  • Kamrun Nahar
    • 3
  • M. H. M. Borhannuddin Bhuyan
    • 4
  • Jubayer Al Mahmud
    • 5
  • Frantisek Baluska
    • 6
  • Masayuki Fujita
    • 4
  1. 1.Molecular Biotechnology Group, Center of Molecular BiosciencesUniversity of the RyukyusNishiharaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Botany, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Laboratory of Plant Stress Responses, Faculty of AgricultureKagawa UniversityTakamatsuJapan
  5. 5.Department of Agroforestry and Environment, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  6. 6.Department of Plant Cell Biology, Institute of Cellular and Molecular Botany (IZMB)University of BonnBonnGermany

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