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Mechanisms of salinity tolerance.

Annual review of plant biology

Thermodynamics, metabolism, Sodium Chloride, Sodium, Signal Transduction, genetics, Plants, Plant Shoots, Plant Physiological Phenomena, Photosynthesis, Oxidative Stress, Osmotic Pressure, physiology, Oryza sativa, Hordeum

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      The physiological and molecular mechanisms of tolerance to osmotic and ionic components of salinity stress are reviewed at the cellular, organ, and whole-plant level. Plant growth responds to salinity in two phases: a rapid, osmotic phase that inhibits growth of young leaves, and a slower, ionic phase that accelerates senescence of mature leaves. Plant adaptations to salinity are of three distinct types: osmotic stress tolerance, Na(+) or Cl() exclusion, and the tolerance of tissue to accumulated Na(+) or Cl(). Our understanding of the role of the HKT gene family in Na(+) exclusion from leaves is increasing, as is the understanding of the molecular bases for many other transport processes at the cellular level. However, we have a limited molecular understanding of the overall control of Na(+) accumulation and of osmotic stress tolerance at the whole-plant level. Molecular genetics and functional genomics provide a new opportunity to synthesize molecular and physiological knowledge to improve the salinity tolerance of plants relevant to food production and environmental sustainability.

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