Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 481–487 | Cite as

Role of Amino Acids in Plant Responses to Stresses

  • V.K. Rai


Plants subjected to stress show accumulation of proline and other amino acids. The role played by accumulated amino acids in plants varies from acting as osmolyte, regulation of ion transport, modulating stomatal opening, and detoxification of heavy metals. Amino acids also affect synthesis and activity of some enzymes, gene expression, and redox-homeostasis. These roles played by amino acids have been critically examined and reviewed.

drought resistance enzymes ion uptake membranes metal detoxification osmolyte proline stomata 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alia, Saradhi, P.: Proline accumulation under heavy metal stress.-J. Plant Physiol. 138: 504–508, 1991.Google Scholar
  2. Alia, Prasad, K.V.S.K., Saradhi, P.: Effect of zinc on free radicals and proline in Brassica and Cajanus.-Phytochemistry 39: 45–47, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Altman, A., Kaur-Sawhney, R., Galston, A.W.: Stabilisation of leaf protoplast through polyamine mediated inhibition of senescence.-Plant Physiol. 60: 570–574, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. Aspinall, D, Paleg, L.G.: Proline accumulation physiological aspects.-In: Paleg, L.G., Aspinall, D. (ed.): Physiology and Biochemistry of Drought Resistance in Plants. Pp. 205–240. Academic Press, Sydney 1981.Google Scholar
  5. Bassi, R., Sharma, S.S.: Changes in proline content accompanying the uptake of zinc and copper by Lemna minor.-Ann. Bot. 72: 151–154, 1993a.Google Scholar
  6. Bassi, R., Sharma, S.S.: Proline accumulation in wheat seedlings exposed to zinc and copper.-Phytochemistry 33: 1339–1342, 1993b.Google Scholar
  7. Carbonera, D., Iadarola, P., Cella, R.: Effect of exogenous amino acids on the intracellular content of proline and other amino acids in Daucus carota cells.-Plant Cell Rep. 8: 422–424, 1989.Google Scholar
  8. Costa, G., Morel, J.L.: Water relations, gas exchange and amino acid content in Cd-treated lettuce.-Plant Physiol. Biochem. 32: 561–565, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. Farago, M.E., Mullen W.A.: Plants which accumulate metals. IV. A possible copper-proline complex from roots of Armeria maritima.-Inorg. chim. Acta 32: L93–94, 1979.Google Scholar
  10. Franz, S.L., Tattar, T.A.: Effects of sugars and amino acids on membrane potentials in two clones of sugarcane.-Plant Physiol. 67: 150–155, 1981.Google Scholar
  11. Grout, D.W.W., Coutt, R.H.A.: Additives for the enhancement of fusion and endocytosis in higher plant protoplasts, an electrophoretic study.-Plant Sci. Lett. 2: 397–403, 1974.Google Scholar
  12. Handa, S., Bressan, R.A., Handa, A.K., Caprita, N.C., Hasegawa, P.M.: Solutes contributing to osmotic adjustments in cultured plant cells adapted to water stress.-Plant Physiol. 73: 834–843, 1983.Google Scholar
  13. Handa, S., Handa, A.K., Hasegawa, P., Bressan, R.A.: Proline accumulation and the adaptation of cultured plant cells to water stress.-Plant Physiol. 80: 938–945, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. Hanower, P., Brzozowska, J.: Effects of osmotic stress on composition of free amino acids in cotton leaves.-Phytochemistry 14: 1691–1694, 1975.Google Scholar
  15. Hanson, A.D., Nelson, C.E., Everson, E.H.: Evaluation of free proline accumulation as an index of drought resistance using two contrasting barley cultivars.-Crop Sci. 17: 720–726, 1977.Google Scholar
  16. Hanson, A.D., Nelson, C.E., Pedarson, A.R., Everson, E.H.: Capacity for free proline accumulation during water stress in barley and it's implication for drought resistance.-Crop Sci. 19: 489–493, 1979.Google Scholar
  17. Hare, P.D., Cress, W.A.: Metabolic implications of stress induced proline accumulation in plants.-Plant Growth Regul. 21: 79–102, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. Hare, P,D., Cress, W.A., Van Staden, J.: Dissecting the role of osmolyte accumulation during stress.-Plant Cell Environ. 21: 535–553, 1998.Google Scholar
  19. Hellergen, J., Li, P.H.: Survival of Solanum tuberosum suspension culture to −14 °C: mode of action of proline.-Plant Physiol. 52: 444–449, 1981.Google Scholar
  20. Holowach, L.P., Madison, J.T., Thompson, J.F.: Studies on mechanism of regulation of the m-RNA level for a soyabean storage protein subunit by exogenous L-methionine.-Plant Physiol. 80: 561–567, 1986.Google Scholar
  21. Iyer, S., Caplan, A.: Products of proline catabolism can induce osmotically regulated genes.-Plant Physiol. 116: 203–211, 1998.Google Scholar
  22. Kavikishore, P.B., Hong, Z., Miao, G.H., Hu, C.H., Verma, D.P.S.: Over expression of Δ-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase increases proline production and confers osmotolerance in transgenic plants.-Plant Physiol. 108: 1887–1894, 1995.Google Scholar
  23. Khanna, S.: Regulation of K+ uptake by exogenous amino acids, glycine betaine and abscisic acid in turgid and stressed Raphanus sativus L. seedlings.-Ph. D. Thesis. H.P. University, Shimla 1998.Google Scholar
  24. Khanna, S., Rai, V.K.: Changes in proline levels in response to osmotic stress and exogenous amino acids in Raphanus sativus L. seedlings.-Acta Physiol. Plant. 20: 393–397, 1998.Google Scholar
  25. Kiyosue, T., Yoshiba Y., Yamaghuchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinizaki, K.: A nuclear gene encoding mitochondrial proline dehydrogenase, an enzyme involved in proline metabolism, is upregulated by proline but down regulated by dehydration in Arabidopsis.-Plant Cell 8: 1323–1335, 1996.Google Scholar
  26. Krall, J.P., Edwards, G.E., Andreo, C.S.: Protection of pyruvate, Pi dikinase from maize against cold lability by compatible solutes.-Plant Physiol. 89: 280–284, 1989.Google Scholar
  27. Krammer, U., Cotter-Howells, J.D., Charnock, J.M., Baker, A.J.M., Smith, J.A.C.: Free histidine as a metal chelator in plant that accumulate nickel.-Nature 379: 635–638, 1996.Google Scholar
  28. Kumar, V., Sharma, D.R.: Effects of exogenous proline on growth and ion content in sodium chloride stressed and non-stressed cells of mung bean, Vigna radiata L. var. radiata.-Indian J. exp. Biol. 27: 813–815, 1989.Google Scholar
  29. Kumar, V., Sharma, D.R., Sheoran, I.S.: Effects of proline on growth, ionic content and osmotic potential of thioproline stressed and nonstressed wild type callus cultures of mung bean (Vigna radiata var. radiata).-Indian J. exp. Biol. 29: 661–664, 1990.Google Scholar
  30. Lone, M.I., Kueh, J.S.H., Wyn-Jones, R.G., Bright, S.W.J.: Influence of proline and glycine betaine on salt tolerance of cultured barley embryo.-J. exp. Bot. 38: 479–490, 1987.Google Scholar
  31. Maggio, A., Bressan, R.A., Hasegawa, P.M., Locy, R.D.: Moderately increased constitutive proline does not alter osmotic stress tolerance.-Physiol. Plant. 101: 240–246, 1997.Google Scholar
  32. Mali, P.C., Mehta, S.L.: Effect of drought on enzyme and free proline in rice varieties.-Phytochemistry 16: 1355–1358, 1977.Google Scholar
  33. Mansour, M.M.F.: Nitrogen containing compounds and adaptation of plants to salinity stress.-Biol. Plant. 43: 491–500, 2000.Google Scholar
  34. Mori, T., Sakagami, Y., Doi, K.: Changes in free amino acid contents in Cryptomeria japonica transplants under various soil moisture conditions.-Jap. J. Forest Sci. 52: 350–354, 1971.Google Scholar
  35. Nanjo, T., Kobayashi, M., Yoshiba, Y., Kakubari, Y., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinozaki, K.: Antisense suppression of proline degradation improves tolerance to freezing and salinity in Arabidopsis thaliana.-FEBS Lett. 46: 205–210, 1999a.Google Scholar
  36. Nanjo, T., Kobayashi, M., Yoshiba, Y., Sunada, Y., Wada, K., Tsukaya, H., Kakubari, Y., Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, K., Shinozaki, K.: Biological functions of proline in morphogenesis and osmotolerance revealed in antisense transgenic Arabidopsis thalliana.-Plant J. 18: 185–193, 1999b.Google Scholar
  37. Paleg, L.G., Doughlas, T.J., Van Daal, A., Keech, D.B.: Proline and betaine protect enzymes against heat inactivation.-Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 8: 107–114, 1981.Google Scholar
  38. Palfi, G., Koves, F., Bito, M., Sebestyen, R.: The role of amino acids during water stress in species accumulating proline.-Phyton Rev. Inst. Bot. Exp. 32: 121–127, 1974.Google Scholar
  39. Paulin, A.: The influence of a temporary water deficit on nitrogen metabolism in cut flowers of Iris germinica.-Compt. rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, Sér. D 275: 209–212, 1972.Google Scholar
  40. Perez-Aflocea, F., Estan, M.T., Caro, M., Guerrier, G.: Osmotic adjustment in Lycopersicon esculentum and Lycopersicon pennellii under sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol 6000 iso-osmotic stress.-Physiol. Plant. 87: 493–498, 1993.Google Scholar
  41. Rai, V.K., Bapat, C.M.: Water stress effects on amino acid metabolism during early vegetative growth in Phaseolus mungo L.-Geobios 4: 231–234, 1977.Google Scholar
  42. Rai, V.K., Kumari, A.: Modulation of membrane permeability by amino acids in Vinca petals.-Experientia 39: 301–303, 1983.Google Scholar
  43. Rai, V.K., Sharma, U.D.: Amino acids can modulate ABA induced stomatal closure, stomatal resistance and K+ fluxes in Vicia faba leaves.-Beitr. Biol. Pflanz. 66: 393–405, 1991.Google Scholar
  44. Rajendrakumar, C.S.V., Suryanarayan, T., Reddy, A.R.: DNA helix destabilisation by proline and betaine: Possible role in salinity tolerance process.-FEBS Lett. 410: 201–205, 1997.Google Scholar
  45. Rajagopal, V.: The influence of exogenous proline on stomatal resistance in Vicia faba.-Physiol. Plant. 52: 292–296, 1981.Google Scholar
  46. Rajagopal, V., Sinha, S.K.: Influence of exogenously supplied proline on relative water content in wheat and barley.-Indian J. exp. Biol. 18: 1523–1524, 1980.Google Scholar
  47. Rana, U., Rai, V.K.: Modulation of calcium uptake by exogenous amino acids in Phaseolus vulgaris seedlings.-Acta Physiol. Plant. 18: 117–120, 1996.Google Scholar
  48. Schat, H., Sharma, S.S., Vooijs, R.: Heavy metal induced free proline in a metal tolerant and a non-tolerant ecotype of Silene vulgaris.-Physiol. Plant. 101: 477–482, 1997.Google Scholar
  49. Schobert, B., Tschesche, H.: Unusual solution properties of proline and its interaction with proteins.-Biochem. biophys. Acta. 541: 270–277, 1978.Google Scholar
  50. Schobert, B.: Is there an osmotic regulatory mechanism in algae and higher plants?-J. theor. Biol. 541: 17–26, 1977.Google Scholar
  51. Sharma, S.S., Schat, H., Vooijs, R.: In vitro alleviation of heavy metal-induced enzyme inhibition by proline.-Phytochemistry 49: 1531–1535, 1998.Google Scholar
  52. Sharma, U.D., Rai, V.K.: Modulation of osmotic closure of stomata, stomatal resistance and K+ fluxes by exogenous amino acids in Vicia faba L. leaves.-Biochem. Physiol. Pflanz. 185: 369–376, 1989.Google Scholar
  53. Shibaoka, H., Thimann, K.V.: Antagonism between kinetin and amino acids. Experiments on mode of action of cytokinins.-Plant Physiol. 46: 212–220, 1970.Google Scholar
  54. Singh, T.N., Aspinall, D., Paleg, L.G.: Proline accumulation and varietal adaptation to drought in barley, a potential metabolic measure of drought resistance.-Nature new Biol. 236: 188–190, 1972.Google Scholar
  55. Singh, G., Thakur, P.S., Rai, V.K.: Free amino acid pattern in stressed leaves of two contrasting resistant and susceptible cultivars of chick pea.-Experientia 41: 40–41, 1985.Google Scholar
  56. Slukhai, S.I., Shvedova, O.E.: [Dynamics of free amino acid contents in maize plants in connection with soil water regimes.]-Fiziol. Biochim. kul't. Rast. 4: 151–156, 1972. [In Russ.]Google Scholar
  57. Smirnoff, N., Cumbes, Q.J.: Hydroxyl radical scavenging activity of compatible solutes.-Phytochemistry 28: 1057–1059, 1989.Google Scholar
  58. Smirnoff, N., Stewart, G.R.: Nitrogen assimilation and zinc toxicity to zinc-tolerant and non-tolerant clones of Deschampia caespitosa (L) Beau.-New Phytol. 107: 671–680, 1987.Google Scholar
  59. Talanova, V.V., Titov, A.F., Boeva, N.P.: Effect of increasing concentration of lead and cadmium on cucumber seedlings.-Biol. Plant. 43: 441–444, 2000.Google Scholar
  60. Tanaka, O., Nasu, Y., Sonoyama, A., Machara, Y., Kobayashi, T., Nawafune, H., Kugimoto, M.: Effects of exogenous amino acids on iron uptake in relation to their effects on photoperiodic flowering in Lemna pausicostata 6746.-Plant Cell Physiol. 28: 697–702. 1987.Google Scholar
  61. Thakur, P.S., Rai, V.K.: Dynamics of amino acid accumulation in two differentially drought resistant Zea mays cultivars in response to osmotic stress.-Environ. exp. Bot. 22: 221–226, 1982.Google Scholar
  62. Thakur, P.S., Rai, V.K.: Exogenously supplied amino acids and water deficits in Zea mays cultivars.-Biol. Plant. 27: 458–461, 1985.Google Scholar
  63. Tipirdamaz, R., Karakullukcu, S.: Effects of proline and glycine betaine on growth and some internal solute changes of cultured tomato embryos under saline conditions.-Turk. J. Biol. 17: 57–64, 1993.Google Scholar
  64. Waldren, R.D., Teare, I.D.: Free proline accumulation in drought stressed plants under laboratory conditions.-Plant Soil 40: 689–692, 1974.Google Scholar
  65. Withers, L.A., King, P.J.: Proline: a novel cryoprotectant for the freeze preservation of cultured cells in Zea mays.-Plant Physiol. 64: 675–678, 1979.Google Scholar
  66. Yang, C.-W., Lin, C.C., Kao, C.H.: Proline, ornithine, arginine and glutamic acid contents in detached rice leaves.-Biol. Plant. 43: 305–307, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • V.K. Rai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiosciencesH.P. UniversityShimlaIndia

Personalised recommendations