Cross-tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants: a focus on resistance to aphid infestation

Christine H. Foyer (Lead / Corresponding author), Brwa Rasool, Jack W. Davey, Robert D. Hancock (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Plants co-evolved with an enormous variety of microbial pathogens and insect herbivores under daily and seasonal variations in abiotic environmental conditions. Hence, plant cells display a high capacity to respond to diverse stresses through a flexible and finely balanced response network that involves components such as reduction-oxidation (redox) signalling pathways, stress hormones and growth regulators, as well as calcium and protein kinase cascades. Biotic and abiotic stress responses use common signals, pathways and triggers leading to cross-tolerance phenomena, whereby exposure to one type of stress can activate plant responses that facilitate tolerance to several different types of stress. While the acclimation mechanisms and adaptive responses that facilitate responses to single biotic and abiotic stresses have been extensively characterized, relatively little information is available on the dynamic aspects of combined biotic/abiotic stress response. In this review, we consider how the abiotic environment influences plant responses to attack by phloem-feeding aphids. Unravelling the signalling cascades that underpin cross-tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses will allow the identification of new targets for increasing environmental resilience in crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2025-2037
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number7
Early online date1 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Animals
  • Aphids
  • Environment
  • Plant diseases
  • Plant physiological phenomena
  • signal transduction inhibitor
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Journal article
  • Research support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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