Can alternative metabolic pathways and shunts overcome salinity induced inhibition of central carbon metabolism in plants?

Ali Bandehagh, Nicolas Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The annual cost of lost crop production from exposure to salinity has major impacts on food 38 security in all parts of the world. Salinity stress disturbs energy metabolism and knowledge of the
39 impacts on critical processes controlling plant energy production is key to successfully breeding salt 40 tolerant crops. To date, little progress has been achieved using classic breeding approaches to develop 41 salt tolerance. The hope of some salinity researchers is that through a better understanding of the
42 metabolic responses and adaptation to salinity exposure, new breeding targets can be suggested to 43 help develop salt tolerant crops. Plants sense and react to salinity through a complex system of 44 sensors, receptor systems, transporters, signal transducers and gene expression regulators in order to
45 control the uptake of salts and to induce tolerant metabolism that jointly leads to changes in growth 46 rate and biomass production. During this response, there must be a balance between supply of energy 47 from mitochondria and chloroplasts and energy demands for water and ion transport, growth and
48 osmotic adjustment. The photosynthetic response to salinity has been thoroughly researched and 49 generally we see a sharp drop in photosynthesis after exposure to salinity. However, less attention has 50 been given to the effect of salt stress on plant mitochondrial respiration and the metabolic processes
51 that influence respiratory rate. A further complication is the wide range of respiratory responses that 52 have been observed in different plant species, which have included major and minor increases, 53 decreases and no change in respiratory rate after salt exposure. In this review, we begin by considering
54 physiological and biochemical impacts of salinity on major crop plants. We then summarise and 55 consider recent advances that have characterised changes in abundance of metabolites that are 56 involved in respiratory pathways and their alternative routes and shunts in terms of energy metabolism 57 in crop plants. We will consider the diverse molecular responses of cellular plant metabolism during 58 salinity exposure and suggest how these metabolic responses might aid in salinity tolerance. Finally, 59 we will consider how this commonality and diversity should influence how future research of the 60 salinity responses of crops plants should proceed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2020

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