Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

How plants cope with stress

The discovery of a gene that controls plants' responses to environmental stresses may help scientists create plants that can withstand drought and other challenging conditions.
How plants cope with stress
Plants respond to environmental stresses like drought or ultraviolet light by releasing oxygen-containing molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) into cells. While ROS are important for normal plant functions like photosynthesis, pathogen defence and growth, increased levels can damage DNA and cell structures, causing oxidative stress.

Scientists recently discovered a mutant version of a gene called ATR7 that protects plants from oxidative stress caused by chemicals such as ROS. To understand how ATR7 does this, scientists working on the EU-funded PLANTSURVIVOR (ATR7, a novel player of oxidative stress tolerance in plants: Interrogation of its mode of action through an integrative omics approach) project studied plants that either overproduced the ATR7 protein or produced none at all. They grew these plants under normal and oxidative stress conditions and then looked at how their genes, metabolites and biochemical pathways were altered.

Researchers found that the plants overexpressing ATR7 had lots of proteins that control the response to oxidative stress. These plants were better able to tolerate drought than normal plants, and were less sensitive to toxic heavy metals and high temperatures.

By providing insight into cell responses to oxidative stress, PLANTSURVIVOR results are useful to plant breeders wanting to avoid yield losses during times of stress.

Related information


Plants, environmental stresses, reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, ATR7, PLANTSURVIVOR
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