ABA: Role in Plant Signaling Under Salt Stress

  • Agnieszka Waśkiewicz
  • Monika Beszterda
  • Piotr Goliński


Salt stress in soil and water is one of the primary abiotic stresses which limit plant growth and productivity, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Salinity is responsible for other stresses such as ion toxicity, and nutrient imbalances. During the development of salt stress within the plant, all the major processes such as photosynthesis, protein synthesis, energy and lipid metabolisms are affected. In terms of salinity tolerance, plants are classified as halophytes, which can grow and reproduce under high salinity (>400 mM NaCl), and glycophytes, which cannot survive high salinity. Most of the grain crops and vegetables like bean, eggplant, corn, potato and sugarcane are natrophobic (glycophytes) and are highly susceptible to soil salinity.

Among physiological responses to abiotic stresses, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) – a sesquiterpenoid with one (C-1) asymmetric carbon plays an important role. The accumulation of ABA in response to water or salt stress is a cell signaling process, encompassing initial stress signal perception, cellular signal transduction and regulation of expression of genes encoding key enzymes in ABA biosynthesis and catabolism. This phytohormone plays a dual roles in its physiological regulation. It exhibits inhibitive functions when it is accumulated in large amount under stress to help plant survival through inhibition of processes such as stomatal opening and plant size expansion. Moreover ABA is involved in the inhibition of ethylene production, which is a growth inhibitor under stress. At low concentration it exhibits promoting influence while at ‘normal’ conditions, the metabolite has been shown essential for vegetative growth in several organs, e.g., primary root growth and post-germination seedling development. Also, in seeds ABA modulates the biosynthesis of storage components such as lipids and proteins. The amount of active ABA can be regulated by synthesis, conjugation and catabolism. The present review will throw light on role of ABA in signal transduction under salt stress.


Salt stress ABA Signaling Halophytes Glycophytes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnieszka Waśkiewicz
    • 1
  • Monika Beszterda
    • 1
  • Piotr Goliński
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryPoznań University of Life SciencesPoznańPoland

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