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ABA and cytokinins: challenge and opportunity for plant stress research

Verslues, Paul E.
Plant molecular biology 2016 v.91 no.6 pp. 629-640
abscisic acid, cytokinins, drought, drought tolerance, glucose, metabolism, phenotype, plant stress, receptors, transgenic plants
Accumulation of the stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA) induces many cellular mechanisms associated with drought resistance. Recent years have seen a rapid advance in our knowledge of how increased ABA levels are perceived by ABA receptors, particularly the PYL/RCAR receptors, but there has been relatively less new information about how ABA accumulation is controlled and matched to stress severity. ABA synthesis and catabolism, conjugation and deconjugation to glucose, and ABA transport all are involved in controlling ABA levels. This highly buffered system of ABA metabolism represents both a challenge and opportunity in developing a mechanistic understanding of how plants detect and respond to drought. Recent data have also shown that direct manipulation of cytokinin levels in transgenic plants has dramatic effect on drought phenotypes and prompted new interest in the role of cytokinins and cytokinin signaling in drought. Both ABA and cytokinins will continue to be major foci of drought research but likely with different trajectories both in terms of basic research and in translational research aimed at increasing plant performance during drought.