Morphophysiological and molecular effects of drought stress in rice

Shamsun Nahar, Jyotirmay Kalita, Lingaraj Sahoo, Bhaben Tanti*


Drought is a major abiotic stress that adversely affects the rice growth, mostly in the rainfed ecosystem that ultimately affects the biomass production and yield. Rice needs to adapt a series of physiological mechanisms with complicated regulatory network to fight and cope up with the unfavourable conditions due to drought stress. Morphological and physiological response in rice include inhibition of seed germination, slower growth rate, low root and shoot length, lower chlorophyll content, stomatal closure, lower rate of photosynthesis, yield reduction etc. Stress condition further results in development of response at the molecular level by the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as O2*-, H2O2, 1O2, OH* etc. which incites oxidative stress in the plants. Oxidative stress is overcome by the inherent capacity of plants to produce antioxidant species which may be enzymatic or non-enzymatic in nature. If however antioxidant defence mechanism cannot overpower the ROS generated, they cause oxidative damage to the plant tissues such as lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, DNA damage, etc. resulting in cell death. Unlike other stresses, drought affects the physiology and biochemistry of the rice which adversely affects in the morphology and consequently delimits the yield of the plant. Therefore, understanding the morphological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in rice against drought is utmost necessary for rice breeders to improve the rice for drought tolerant/resistance varieties for future green revolution. In this review, an attempt has been made to highlight the complex regulatory network involved in rice against drought with special emphasis on morphological, physiological and molecular mechanisms and to discuss the prospective and challenges for future plant breeders.


Drought stress; rice; morphophysiological effect; molecular effect; reactive oxygen species

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