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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #270311

Title: Molecular bases and improvement of heat tolerance in crop plants

item Fu, Jianming
item MOMCILOVIC, IVANA - University Of Belgrade
item PRASAD, P.V. VARA - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Heat Stress: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Fu, J., Momcilovic, I., Prasad, P. 2012. Molecular bases and improvement of heat tolerance in crop plants. Heat Stress: Causes, Treatment and Prevention. 185-214.

Interpretive Summary: Crop plants are often damaged by high temperatures at various stages in the crop season. High temperatures can affect plant growth and development, photosynthesis, pollination, and transport and storage of assimilates. Plant active defenses against heat stress include molecular scavengers of reactive oxygen species and molecular chaperones that stabilize heat-susceptible molecules such as chloroplast membranes. This review summarizes our current understanding of crop tolerance to heat stress and methods for development of more heat-tolerant varieties.

Technical Abstract: High temperature is a major constraint to crop productivity, causing substantial reductions in yield and quality, and expected to become a more devastating factor due to global warming. A better understanding of molecular mechanisms of tolerance to high temperatures is necessary for designing and developing new crop varieties tolerant to heat stress. At the molecular level, damage due to heat stress include protein denaturation and subsequent aggregation, and damage to nucleic acids, lipids and other molecules by reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced in plant cells during heat stress. In response to heat stress, plants produce diverse molecules, including chaperones to bind and prevent denatured proteins from thermoaggregation and antioxidant enzymes and scavengers to detoxify ROS. Approaches to develop new crop varieties tolerant to heat stress include conventional breeding to screen germplasm for identifying tolerant lines and then incorporate the tolerant traits in commercial cultivars, and genetic engineering to produce stress-tolerant transgenic crop plants. This review summarizes current understanding of crop plant tolerance to high temperature, and discusses methods for development of heat tolerant crop varieties.