Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: April 28, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This book was prepared to summarize the current understanding of the dynamics of plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses. The preface of the book sets the stage for the contents of the different chapters by outlining that plants defend themselves from various environmental stresses through a variety of very interesting mechanisms in response to the stimuli. The premise of these chapters is that plants are subjected to a variety of abiotic stresses, e.g., drought, cold, heat, salt, and biotic stresses from insect and disease pressures and the combination of these stresses leads to reduced agricultural productivity. The impact of stress on plants has long been recognized; however, this book is focused on the signals that occur when plants are subjected to stress. A unique feature of this book is that there is an in-depth treatment of both the signal processes that plants undergo in response to both abiotic and biotic factors but the crosstalk that exists among the phytohormone response to the different stimuli. To quote the Editors from the preface "plants undergo continuous exposure to multiple stresses under natural conditions, these signal transduction pathways must interconnect to allow plants to coordinate and prioritize their reactions for survival using limited resources. Indeed, recent studies about the crosstalk between these signal cascades are becoming a central theme in various research fields, and we believe it is time to summarize our current knowledge to understand the complexity of the signaling crosstalk." The Editors of this book (Yoshioka and Shinozaki) are active researchers in cell biology and functional genomics and have combined the expertise from their laboratories in Japan (Shinozaki) and Canada (Yoshioka) along with 22 other international scholars to assemble this material. The strong parts of this book are the very comprehensive literature of the current state of information on a variety of molecular genetic studies on a number of species and a comparison, where possible, of how different plant species respond to stresses. All of the chapters are well-prepared and comprehensive in addressing individual components of potential signal crosstalks. The foundation of the responses are based on marker genes and their responses which requires a good understanding of the different stimuli to stresses; however, for the agronomist there is information within these chapters that helps point a direction for plant response that is often observed and yet not fully appreciated in terms of how these factors affect plant response. The linkages between pathogen stress and nutrient or drought stress in terms of plant response and reaction pathways provide insights into what may become critical to help achieve yield stability under adverse conditions or enhanced biomass or grain quality. There are some very interesting relationships proposed in these chapters that should trigger new questions about plant response under multiple stresses. The Editors goal of providing a summary of the current state of knowledge is achieved in this book as well. I found this book to be very thought provoking and although it has been a few years since I have thought about biochemical pathways and potential signals of these responses, there is a wealth of information. This book would be an important resource for individuals who work in various abiotic and biotic stress studies because it will create a renewed interest of these complex interactions and help trigger insights into additional questions about the mechanisms involved in plant responses. Agronomists, plant pathologists, and entomologists who work with biochemists and molecular geneticists should read this to obtain some insights into the complexities of plant responses to stresses.