Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Drought and Heat Tolerance in Plants and Options for Crop Improvement for Combined Stress Tolerance

  • M. S. Parvathi
  • K. H. Dhanyalakshmi
  • K. N. NatarajaEmail author


Plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses have been extensively studied in isolation. But, in their natural environments, plants are frequently exposed to combination of stresses. The recent studies using model as well as non-model systems indicate that plant responses to combined stresses are often unique and cannot be completely deduced from their responses to individual stresses. These responses are regulated by complex and distinct regulatory pathways, mediated by diverse genes, proteins, and metabolites, which might vary with plant species and with the intensity of stress experienced. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms is essential for improving crop tolerance to combined stresses. Drought and heat stress cause severe impact on crop growth and productivity, independently, and are more likely to coexist in field conditions, especially in the changing climate scenario. This chapter aims to brief the relevance of combined drought and heat stress, elucidate the underlying mechanisms under individual stresses as well as in combination, and highlight the options for crop improvement under combination of stresses.


Drought Heat stress Combined stress Plant responses Crop improvement 



This work is partly supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi (BT/TDS/121/SP20276/2016), RKVY-Government of India (No. DR/Prof. (S)/RKVY/Alloc./B-44/2017-18), and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-CAAST- F.No./NAHEP/CAAST/2018-19), Government of India, New Delhi. DKH thanks the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, for providing DST-INSPIRE research fellowship (IF120808).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. S. Parvathi
    • 1
  • K. H. Dhanyalakshmi
    • 1
  • K. N. Nataraja
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Crop PhysiologyUniversity of Agricultural SciencesBengaluruIndia

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