29. Wheat: Mechanisms and Genetic Means for Improving Heat Tolerance

  1. Dr. Narendra Tuteja2,3,
  2. Dr. Sarvajeet Singh Gill2,4,
  3. Prof. Antonio F. Tiburcio5 and
  4. Dr. Renu Tuteja2
  1. Kuldeep Singh,
  2. Vishal Chugh,
  3. Gurpreet K. Sahi and
  4. Parveen Chhuneja

Published Online: 30 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch29

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

How to Cite

Singh, K., Chugh, V., Sahi, G. K. and Chhuneja, P. (2012) Wheat: Mechanisms and Genetic Means for Improving Heat Tolerance, in Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2 (eds N. Tuteja, S. S. Gill, A. F. Tiburcio and R. Tuteja), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch29

Editor Information

  1. 2

    International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Plant Molecular Biology Group, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110 067, India

  2. 3

    MD University, Centre for Biotechnology, Rohtak 124 001, Haryana, India

  3. 4

    Aligarh Muslim University, Department of Botany, Aligarh 202 002, Uttar Pradesh, India

  4. 5

    Universitat de Barcelona, Unitat de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de Farmàcia, Av. Joan XXIII, S/N, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Author Information

  1. Punjab Agricultural University, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Ludhiana 141 004, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 14 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527328406

Online ISBN: 9783527632930



  • aegilops speltoides;
  • assimilate partitioning;
  • grain filling;
  • heat tolerance;
  • heat shock proteins;
  • insertional mutagenesis


Heat stress is one of the major abiotic stresses that reduce crop productivity. Global warming effects are expected to increase the probability and intensity of heat waves, thus exacerbating the existing conditions. In wheat, reduction in yield in hot climates is primarily due to reductions in duration of growth and development. In addition, heat stress results in early leaf senescence and adverse physiological and biochemical changes. There is a strong need to develop crop plants, especially wheat for improved tolerance toward heat stress. This can be achieved by a thorough understanding of (i) various plant responses to high-temperature stress, (ii) by understanding mechanisms of heat stress tolerance, and (iii) by developing possible strategies for enhancing heat tolerance. Adverse affects of heat stress include decline in photosynthesis, increase in photorespiration, reduced water availability, loss of integrity and function of cell membrane, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and so on. In order to cope up with stress, plants employ a number of defense mechanisms, which includes overexpression of various enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants to scavenge ROS, maintenance of membrane stability, production of various compatible solutes and metabolites, and induction of various signaling cascades. Understanding all these mechanisms can help us improve heat tolerance in plants using conventional and molecular breeding protocols and transgenic approaches. Heat tolerance in crop plants is reported to have been achieved by genetic engineering of expression of heat shock proteins, increasing the level of osmolytes and various cell detoxification enzymes, and altering membrane fluidity. Considerable variability in thermotolerance has been observed in wheat, especially in wild species including Aegilops speltoides. These tolerant species need to be exploited through integration of conventional and molecular breeding approaches. Armed with such wide information and techniques, it will be possible to rationally utilize these for the production of heat-tolerant genotypes with improved productivity.