Cytokinins: metabolism and function in plant adaptation to environmental stresses

Trends Plant Sci. 2012 Mar;17(3):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


In plants, the cytokinin (CK) phytohormones regulate numerous biological processes, including responses to environmental stresses, via a complex network of CK signaling. By an unknown mechanism, stress signals are perceived and transmitted through the His-Asp phosphorelay, an important component of the CK signal transduction pathway, triggering CK-responsive genes. Because of the intensive crosstalk between CKs and abscisic acid (ABA), modulation of CK levels and their signal transduction affects both ABA-dependent and ABA-independent pathways, enabling plant adaptation to adverse conditions. This review presents our current understanding of the functions of CKs and CK signaling in the regulation of plant adaptation to stress. Biotechnological strategies based on the modulation of CK levels have been examined with the aim of stabilizing agriculture yields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Cytokinins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Cytokinins