Plant stress biology

Climate changes with decreasing regional rainfall and increasing temperatures emphasize the importance of the development of new drought tolerant cultivars from germplasm collections, especially for agriculturally important crops.

IPCC fig

Plants mainly respond to water deficit by reducing water loss in leaves through stomatal closure causing reduction in photosynthesis and by metabolic protection via accumulation of compatible solutes or production of antioxidant enzymes against the adverse effects of oxidative stress. A rapid accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), mainly hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), was observed during drought stress adaptation in many plants.

Figure 2a

(Figure. Antioxidant gene expression during dehydration time course (0-8h) and slow developing water stress (right) in two barley vaieties, Erginel90 and Marti)  

Study of gene expression, termed as transcriptomics is an essential step in understanding of plant cellular response to environmental stresses.

genomics appr..jpg

Any data of physiological mechanisms of drought and salinity adaptations will also be helpful to explain regulation of plant responses. (Following picture shows the decrease of water loss and increase in osmolyte accumulation in the leaves of two different barley plants by hours of dehydration)


Plant genetic engineering, particularly genome editing technologies can greatly facilitate the study of gene function and development of tolerant plants to drought/salinity/heat stresses.

Heat map of stress-associated  genes in barley during hours and days of water-deficit


Analysis of sequence diversity and biochemical features of stress-associated genes in wild relatives of crop plants, can provide information on tolerance and stress response.  For example, dehydrins play a fundamental role in response of plants to different abiotic stresses especially dehydration, salinity and low temperatures by accumulating in vegetative tissues. We reported the genetic structure and variation of near-complete  Dhn3 alleles in H. spontaneum plants collected from South-eastern Turkey.

fig 2
Hydrophobicity profiles of DHN3 variants corresponding to different motifs of DHN3 protein in wild barley
Probability of protein binding sites predicted by DISOPRED3 program, in Dhn3 variants.

For more information.

Gürel et al. (2016)

Uçarlı et al. (2016)

Our projects:

Cloning and functional analyses of abiotic stress associated genes from native barley varieties Istanbul University Research Fund (BAP 4712)
Gene expression profile of barley plants under salinity stress (Cüneyt Uçarlı PhD thesis,  BAP 23966)


Assessment of the response of barley to the separate and joint effects of heat shock and salinity stress (Michele Faralli M.Sc. thesis)






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