Plant stress biology

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 3

Typically offered in

Autumn semester

Course description

1. Introduction. Plant and environment, environmental strain, environmental extremities. Stress and life, acclimation, adaptation.

2. Concept of plant stress, stressors, eustress, distress, biotic and abiotic stresses, the stress syndrome, stress phases, alarm reaction, hardening, resistance, exhaustion. Phenotypical plasticity, acclimation, adaptation. Stress and evolution.

3. Stress response, specific and aspecific responses, general and specific markers. Synergism, antagonism. Tolerance, avoidance, crosstolerance.

4. Components and functioning of signal tarnsduction pathway, sensing, receptors, signal transduction in the membrane and in the cell, signal transduction cascades. Kinases, calmodulin. Role of second messengers (Ca2+, inositol-phosphatides, NO, H2O2, etc)

5. Role of hormones in signal transduction. Abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, electrical signal transduction. Plant "neurobiology", integration of signal transduction processes.

6. Temperature stress, heat stress, cold stress, freezing stress. Role of membranes in sensing, heat shock proteins. Antifreeze proteins and other protecting mechanisms.

7. Sensing of drought stress, water deficit compensating mechanisms. ABA dependent and -independent responses. Role of proline and glycine-betaine.

8. Salinity stress, mechanism of salt tolerance. Salt sensing, salt stress signaling. Possible responses.

9. Sensing and uptake of toxic heavy metals. Physiological efects of heavy metals, regulation of metal homeostasis, resistance mechanisms. Responses on Cu and Cd loading. Role of phytochelatins. Adaptive responses on soil pH changes.

10. Photoinhibition, stress caused by excess light. Inhibition on donor or acceptror side of PS2. Repair cycle. Role of active oxygen forms. Protective mechanisms, xanthophyll cycle, functioning of ELIP-s. UV-B stress.

11. Stress caused by xenobiotics, lethal and nonlethal toxifications. Inhibion of enzymes, genaration of active oxygen forms. Protective mechanisms. Possible reasons for resistance to xenobiotics.

12. Oxidative stress. Production of active oxygen forms in plants, their physiological effects. Oxidative damage of macromolecules. Protective mechanisms. Sensing of anoxya and hypoxya caused by flooding. Signal transduction.

13. Biotic stress caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. Constitutive and induced resistance, recognition and specificity. Wounding. Stress caused by herbivores.

14. Effect of stress on genom structure and regulation. Improving stress tolerance of cultivated plants by gene transfer.

  • Jenks M. A. and Hasegawa P. M. (eds..) Plant Abiotic Stress p.270. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford (2005)

  • Smirnoff N. (ed.) Antioxidants and Reactive Oxygen Species in Plants p. 302. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford (2005)

  • Huang B. (ed.) Plant-Environment Interactions p.388 Taylor & Francis Boca Raton, etc (2006)