Frontiers in Plant Science (Sep 2022)
Abscisic acid: Metabolism, transport, crosstalk with other plant growth regulators, and its role in heavy metal stress mitigation
Heavy metal (HM) stress is threatening agricultural crops, ecological systems, and human health worldwide. HM toxicity adversely affects plant growth, physiological processes, and crop productivity by disturbing cellular ionic balance, metabolic balance, cell membrane integrity, and protein and enzyme activities. Plants under HM stress intrinsically develop mechanisms to counter the adversities of HM but not prevent them. However, the exogenous application of abscisic acid (ABA) is a strategy for boosting the tolerance capacity of plants against HM toxicity by improving osmolyte accumulation and antioxidant machinery. ABA is an essential plant growth regulator that modulates various plant growth and metabolic processes, including seed development and germination, vegetative growth, stomatal regulation, flowering, and leaf senescence under diverse environmental conditions. This review summarizes ABA biosynthesis, signaling, transport, and catabolism in plant tissues and the adverse effects of HM stress on crop plants. Moreover, we describe the role of ABA in mitigating HM stress and elucidating the interplay of ABA with other plant growth regulators.