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      NAC transcription factors in plant multiple abiotic stress responses: progress and prospects

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          Abstract

          Abiotic stresses adversely affect plant growth and agricultural productivity. According to the current climate prediction models, crop plants will face a greater number of environmental stresses, which are likely to occur simultaneously in the future. So it is very urgent to breed broad-spectrum tolerant crops in order to meet an increasing demand for food productivity due to global population increase. As one of the largest families of transcription factors (TFs) in plants, NAC TFs play vital roles in regulating plant growth and development processes including abiotic stress responses. Lots of studies indicated that many stress-responsive NAC TFs had been used to improve stress tolerance in crop plants by genetic engineering. In this review, the recent progress in NAC TFs was summarized, and the potential utilization of NAC TFs in breeding abiotic stress tolerant transgenic crops was also be discussed. In view of the complexity of field conditions and the specificity in multiple stress responses, we suggest that the NAC TFs commonly induced by multiple stresses should be promising candidates to produce plants with enhanced multiple stress tolerance. Furthermore, the field evaluation of transgenic crops harboring NAC genes, as well as the suitable promoters for minimizing the negative effects caused by over-expressing some NAC genes, should be considered.

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          Most cited references 70

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          Abiotic stress, the field environment and stress combination.

           Ron Mittler (2005)
          Farmers and breeders have long known that often it is the simultaneous occurrence of several abiotic stresses, rather than a particular stress condition, that is most lethal to crops. Surprisingly, the co-occurrence of different stresses is rarely addressed by molecular biologists that study plant acclimation. Recent studies have revealed that the response of plants to a combination of two different abiotic stresses is unique and cannot be directly extrapolated from the response of plants to each of the different stresses applied individually. Tolerance to a combination of different stress conditions, particularly those that mimic the field environment, should be the focus of future research programs aimed at developing transgenic crops and plants with enhanced tolerance to naturally occurring environmental conditions.
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            When defense pathways collide. The response of Arabidopsis to a combination of drought and heat stress.

            Within their natural habitat, plants are subjected to a combination of abiotic conditions that include stresses such as drought and heat. Drought and heat stress have been extensively studied; however, little is known about how their combination impacts plants. The response of Arabidopsis plants to a combination of drought and heat stress was found to be distinct from that of plants subjected to drought or heat stress. Transcriptome analysis of Arabidopsis plants subjected to a combination of drought and heat stress revealed a new pattern of defense response in plants that includes a partial combination of two multigene defense pathways (i.e. drought and heat stress), as well as 454 transcripts that are specifically expressed in plants during a combination of drought and heat stress. Metabolic profiling of plants subjected to drought, heat stress, or a combination of drought and heat stress revealed that plants subject to a combination of drought and heat stress accumulated sucrose and other sugars such as maltose and glucose. In contrast, Pro that accumulated in plants subjected to drought did not accumulate in plants during a combination of drought and heat stress. Heat stress was found to ameliorate the toxicity of Pro to cells, suggesting that during a combination of drought and heat stress sucrose replaces Pro in plants as the major osmoprotectant. Our results highlight the plasticity of the plant genome and demonstrate its ability to respond to complex environmental conditions that occur in the field.
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              NAC proteins: regulation and role in stress tolerance.

              The plant-specific NAC (NAM, ATAF1,2 and CUC2) proteins constitute a major transcription factor family renowned for their roles in several developmental programs. Despite their highly conserved DNA-binding domains, their remarkable diversification across plants reflects their numerous functions. Lately, they have received much attention as regulators in various stress signaling pathways which may include interplay of phytohormones. This review summarizes the recent progress in research on NACs highlighting the proteins' potential for engineering stress tolerance against various abiotic and biotic challenges. We discuss regulatory components and targets of NAC proteins in the context of their prospective role for crop improvement strategies via biotechnological intervention. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-462X
                29 October 2015
                2015
                : 6
                Affiliations
                1Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Bioresources of Saline Soils; Provincial Key Laboratory of Agrobiology, Institute of Agro-biotechnology, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences Nanjing, China
                2Key Laboratory of Coastal Biology and Bioresources, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Yantai, China
                3Institute of Technology, Yantai Academy of China Agriculture University Yantai, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Girdhar Kumar Pandey, University of Delhi, India

                Reviewed by: Chandrashekhar Pralhad Joshi, Michigan Technological University, USA; Lam-Son Tran, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Japan

                *Correspondence: Hongbo Shao shaohongbochu@ 123456126.com

                This article was submitted to Plant Physiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work.

                Article
                10.3389/fpls.2015.00902
                4625045
                Copyright © 2015 Shao, Wang and Tang.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 96, Pages: 8, Words: 6668
                Categories
                Plant Science
                Perspective

                Plant science & Botany

                abiotic stress, multiple stresses, nac, transcription factors, transgenic plant

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