8. Epigenetic regulation of abiotic stress responses in plants

  1. Matthew A. Jenks4 and
  2. Paul M. Hasegawa5
  1. Viswanathan Chinnusamy1,
  2. Monika Dalal2 and
  3. Jian-Kang Zhu3

Published Online: 10 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118764374.ch8

Plant Abiotic Stress, Second Edition

Plant Abiotic Stress, Second Edition

How to Cite

Chinnusamy, V., Dalal, M. and Zhu, J.-K. (2013) Epigenetic regulation of abiotic stress responses in plants, in Plant Abiotic Stress, Second Edition (eds M. A. Jenks and P. M. Hasegawa), John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ. doi: 10.1002/9781118764374.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 4

    United States Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS, Maricopa, Arizona

  2. 5

    Center for Plant Environmental Stress Physiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Author Information

  1. 1

    Division of Plant Physiology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India

  2. 2

    National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

  3. 3

    Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology and Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 JAN 2014
  2. Published Print: 20 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118412176

Online ISBN: 9781118764374



  • abiotic stress responses;
  • environment;
  • epigenetic regulation;
  • gene expression;
  • plants;
  • stress tolerance


Environmental factors such as water, temperature, light, and nutrients are essential for plant growth and development. Plants have evolved several adaptive mechanisms to survive and reproduce under stress conditions. An understanding of the mechanisms of establishment of epigenetic codes and their relationship with gene repression under abiotic stresses is important for developing stress-tolerant crop plants. This chapter focuses on epigenetic mechanisms involved in abiotic stress responses of plants. It briefly summarizes the abiotic stress-induced changes in histone modification, histone variants and DNA methylation patterns and their significance in acclimation responses and stress tolerance of plants. Some examples of the histone modification that is critical for stress response of plants are discussed. A section talks about stress-induced changes in DNA methylation and its association with expression of genes critical for stress responses. The chapter concludes with a discussion on transgenerational inheritance and adaptive value of epigenetic modifications.