Plants in Extreme Environments. Importance of Protective Compounds in Stress Tolerance

László Szabados*, Hajnalka Kovács, Aviah Zilberstein, Alain Bouchereau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Extreme environmental conditions such as drought, cold or high soil salinity impede plant growth and require specific adaptation capacity. In response to environmental stresses, a number of low-molecular-weight compounds can accumulate in plants: protective amino acids, sugar alcohols, sugars and betaine-type quaternary amines. The function of these compounds includes the stabilisation of cellular structures, photosynthetic complexes, specific enzymes and other macromolecules, the scavenging of reactive oxygen species or acting as metabolic signals in stress conditions. Although a correlation between the accumulation of certain osmoprotective compounds and stress tolerance certainly exists, a causal relationship between osmolyte accumulation and enhanced tolerance could not always be confirmed. Nevertheless, the importance of osmoprotective compounds for the adaptation to extreme environmental conditions is supported by numerous studies obtained with natural variants, mutants or transgenic plants with different capabilities to accumulate these metabolites. Combining genetic analysis with metabolic profiling approaches could considerably increase our understanding of plant stress responses and the importance of the protective metabolites in the adaptation to stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-150
Number of pages46
JournalAdvances in Botanical Research
StatePublished - 2011


FundersFunder number
European Cooperation in Science and TechnologyFA0901
Hungarian Scientific Research FundK-68226, HURO/0801/167


    • Environmental stress
    • Glycine betaine
    • Mannitol
    • Pinitol
    • Proline
    • Protective compound
    • Trehalose


    Dive into the research topics of 'Plants in Extreme Environments. Importance of Protective Compounds in Stress Tolerance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this