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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(9)

Salt stress, signalling and redox control in seeds

Ilse Kranner A C and Charlotte E. Seal B

A Institute of Botany, University of Innsbruck, Sternwartestraße 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
B Seed Conservation Department, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TN, UK.
C Corresponding author. Email: ilse.kranner@uibk.ac.at
This paper originates from a presentation at the COST WG2 Meeting ‘Putting halophytes to work – genetics, biochemistry and physiology’ Hannover, Germany, 28–31 August 2012.

Functional Plant Biology 40(9) 848-859 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP13017
Submitted: 18 January 2013  Accepted: 13 March 2013   Published: 23 April 2013


 
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Abstract

Abiotic stresses, including salt stress, can impair electron transport chains, thereby increasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). An excess of ROS can damage macromolecular and cellular structure, but ROS are also key components of signalling networks, through which they regulate developmental processes. Surprisingly little is known about the effects of salt stress upon seeds given their pivotal role in plant reproduction and dispersal. This review provides information on tolerance mechanisms and redox control in relation to seed metabolism and performance. First, the effects of salt stress throughout the seed life cycle are discussed, comprising salt effects on the mother plant and its implications on seed development, salt uptake upon seed imbibition and effects on seed germination. Then, responses to elevated salt concentrations are discussed according to a recently proposed triphasic seed stress model comprising the phases alarm, resistance and exhaustion. Implications of redox control in seeds on the physiological, biochemical and molecular level are considered and the review concludes with a perspective on future research in relation to salt stress and seed biology.

Additional keywords: antioxidants, glycophyte, halophyte, reactive oxygen species, salt, seed, sea water, signalling, sodium, stress.


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