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Salt stress tolerance; what do we learn from halophytes?

Ali, Akhtar, Yun, Dae-Jin
Journal of plant biology = 2017 v.60 no.5 pp. 431-439
adverse effects, halophytes, models, osmotic pressure, plant growth, potassium, salinity, salt stress, salt tolerance, sodium, soil salinity, stress tolerance, vacuoles
Abiotic environmental stresses can give rise to morphological, biochemical and molecular changes that negatively affect plant growth and productivity. Among these stresses, soil salinity is the major threat. To deal and control effects of high salinity on plants, it is important to understand their responses to salt stress that disturbs the homeostatic equilibrium at cellular and molecular levels. In this regard halophytes (salt tolerant plants) can provide superior models for the study of salt stress defense parameters compared to salt sensitive species (glycophytes). Halophytes use highly developed, complex systems to tolerate salinity by maintaining a low cytosolic Na⁺/K⁺ ratio, sequestration of Na⁺ into vacuoles that then provides the osmotic potential sustaining water influx. Under low intensity stress conditions that moderately and/or transiently affect ion imbalance, the set of responses all plants initiate will be mostly to engage measures that assure ion balance. High salinity, especially over a prolonged time period, will challenge plant survival, which then requires different strategies that employ a variety of mechanisms. Plasticity and connectivity of these diverse mechanisms is engrained in species- and family-specific evolutionary history and their genetic complexity. Highlighting differences in the genetic and biochemical makeup between glycophytes and halophytes allows for comparisons between their approaches towards high salinity. This review provides a brief overview about different strategies and mechanism used by plants to avoid or confine adverse effects of high salinity.