Plant Hormones: Potent Targets for Engineering Salinity Tolerance in Plants

  • Abdallah Atia
  • Zouhaier Barhoumi
  • Ahmed Debez
  • Safa Hkiri
  • Chedly Abdelly
  • Abderrazak Smaoui
  • Chiraz Chaffei Haouari
  • Houda Gouia


Climate change has intensified the frequency and severity of many abiotic stresses. Soil salinity is a major abiotic stress affecting crop productivity worldwide. This leads to significant yield reductions, which have been reported in major cereal species such as wheat, maize, and barley. Meanwhile, the global human population is expected to rise above 9 billion by 2050. Average living standards are also increasing, with impacts on food consumption. Thus, there is an urgent need to further increase crop productivity. To meet these goals, it is imperative to develop new crops that have improved resistance to salt stress. Many plant scientists now believe that modern biotechnological approaches such as molecular breeding and genetic engineering offer the possibility to achieve these goals. Plant hormones play an important physiological role in regulating plant growth and development, and in coordinating plant responses to environmental conditions. These hormones—including abscisic acid, gibberellins, auxins, cytokinins, ethylene, brassinosteroids, and jasmonates—are very important for providing adaptive responses under salt stress. Plant hormones may prove to be important metabolic engineering targets for producing abiotic stress–tolerant crop plants. This chapter discusses the physiological roles of plant hormones in salinity responses and recent success in engineering plant hormones for salinity tolerance in plants.


Abscisic acid Auxins Adaptive responses to salt stress Brassinosteroids Cytokinins Crop productivity Ethylene Gibberellins Genetic engineering Jasmonates Plant growth and development Plant hormones Soil salinity Salinity tolerance 



12-Oxo phytodienoic acid


13-Hydroperoxy-9,11,15-octadecatrienoic acid


α-Linolenic acid


Abscisic acid–aldehyde oxidase


Abscisic acid


Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase


Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase


Adenosine diphosphate


Arabidopsis histidine kinases receptor


Histidine-containing phospho-transfer protein


Allene oxide


Allene oxide cyclase


Allene oxide synthase


Ascorbate peroxidase


Arabidopsis response regulator


Adenosine triphosphate


Brassinosteroid-insensitive 2






Brassinazole-resistant 1






Cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase


Cytokinin response factor




24-Epibrassinolide (EBL)


Electrical conductivity of a saturated soil extract


Ethylene response factor




Flavin monooxygenase




11-b-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase


Indole-3-acetic acid.






Isopentenyl adenine


Indole-3-pyruvic acid


Isopentyl diphosphate


Adenosine phosphate isopentenyl transferase


Jasmonate/jasmonic acid


Jasmonoyl aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


Jasmonoyl isoleucine




Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Molybdenum cofactor sulfurase




Methyl jasmonate


9-Cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase


Nitrate reductase


Reactive electrophile species


Reactive oxygen species


Salicylic acid




Serine/threonine protein kinase gene


Superoxide dismutase








Zeaxanthin oxidase


Zeaxanthin epoxidase


Zeatin riboside


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdallah Atia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zouhaier Barhoumi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ahmed Debez
    • 3
  • Safa Hkiri
    • 2
  • Chedly Abdelly
    • 3
  • Abderrazak Smaoui
    • 3
  • Chiraz Chaffei Haouari
    • 2
  • Houda Gouia
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of biology, College of scienceKing Khalid UniversityAbhaSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Research Unit, Nutrition and Nitrogen Metabolism and Stress Protein, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences of TunisCampus Universitaire El Manar ITunisTunisia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Extremophile Plants, Centre of Biotechnology of Borj-CedriaHammam-LifTunisia

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