Melatonin: A Small Molecule but Important for Salt Stress Tolerance in Plants. uri icon


  • Salt stress is one of the most serious limiting factors in worldwide agricultural production, resulting in huge annual yield loss. Since 1995, melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine)an ancient multi-functional molecule in eukaryotes and prokaryoteshas been extensively validated as a regulator of plant growth and development, as well as various stress responses, especially its crucial role in plant salt tolerance. Salt stress and exogenous melatonin lead to an increase in endogenous melatonin levels, partly via the phyto-melatonin receptor CAND2/PMTR1. Melatonin plays important roles, as a free radical scavenger and antioxidant, in the improvement of antioxidant systems under salt stress. These functions improve photosynthesis, ion homeostasis, and activate a series of downstream signals, such as hormones, nitric oxide (NO) and polyamine metabolism. Melatonin also regulates gene expression responses to salt stress. In this study, we review recent literature and summarize the regulatory roles and signaling networks involving melatonin in response to salt stress in plants. We also discuss genes and gene families involved in the melatonin-mediated salt stress tolerance.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019

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