Glutathione-dependent responses of plants to drought: a review

Water is a renewable resource. However, with the human population growth, economic development and improved living standards, the world’s supply of fresh water is steadily decreasing and consequently water resources for agricultural production are limited and diminishing. Water deficiency is a significant problem in agriculture and increasing efforts are currently being made to understand plant tolerance mechanisms and to develop new tools (especially molecular) that could underpin plant breeding and cultivation. However, the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of plant water deficit tolerance are not fully understood, and the data available is incomplete. Here, we review the significance of glutathione and its related enzymes in plant responses to drought. Firstly, the roles of reduced glutathione (GSH) and reduced/oxidized (GSSG) glutathione ratio, are discussed, followed by an extensive discussion of glutathione related enzymes, which play an important role in plant responses to drought. Special attention is given to the S-glutathionylation of proteins, which is involved in cell metabolism regulation and redox signaling in photosynthetic organisms subjected to abiotic stress. The review concludes with a brief overview of future perspectives for the involvement of glutathione and related enzymes in drought stress responses.
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