Polyamines: Osmoprotectants in Plant Abiotic Stress Adaptation

  • Atreyee Sengupta
  • Mayukh Chakraborty
  • Jayita Saha
  • Bhaskar GuptaEmail author
  • Kamala GuptaEmail author


Environmental stress is one of the major threats affecting the living world. The most crucial function of plant is to induce different regulatory self-defence pathways in response to stress. Abiotic stresses such as drought, high temperature and salinity cause rapid depletion of cellular water leading to loss of crops and agricultural productivity worldwide. On exposure to these prevalent stresses, plant accumulates several polyhydroxylic compounds and zwitterionic alkylamines commonly known as osmolytes or compatible solutes. These are low molecular weight water soluble compounds providing stress tolerance when accumulated without hindering cellular mechanisms. Genes involved in the biosynthetic pathways of different osmolytes have been identified from various sources. Genetic engineering utilising these endogenous genes has resulted in development of transgenic varieties with better adaptability towards stress. Polyamines are ubiquitous biogenic amines that have been implicated in diverse cellular functions. The protective role of plant polyamines as osmolytes is still controversial and needs further investigation. However, there are some reports that suggest functional similarities between polyamines and other osmolytes commonly found in plant defence mechanism. Functions include protection of macromolecules, cellular pH maintenance, ROS scavenging, stabilisation of native protein structure, etc. Apart from these direct functions, exogenous application of polyamines results in the elevation of endogenous level of different osmolytes. Thus, polyamines play an indirect role in plant abiotic stress tolerance by participating in osmolyte synthesis in response to stress. In this review, we have dissected the role of polyamines as osmoprotectants.


Reactive Oxygen Species ROSReactive Oxygen Species Scavenge Compatible Solute Glycine Betaine Guaiacol Peroxidase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors acknowledge the support of technical facilities available at Presidency University, Kolkata. Financial assistance from DBT (RGYI) (Govt. of India) and W.B. State DST (Govt. of West Bengal) to BG and KG and DST-SERB (Govt. of India) to KG is also gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesPresidency UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyGovernment General Degree CollegeSingur, Hooghly DistrictIndia
  3. 3.Department of BotanyGovernment General Degree CollegeSingur, Hooghly DistrictIndia

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