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Phytocystatins and their Potential Application in the Development of Drought Tolerance Plants in Soybeans (Glycine max L.)

[ Vol. 27 , Issue. 2 ]


Phetole Mangena*   Pages 135 - 144 ( 10 )


Plant cystatins, also called phytocystatins constitute a family of specific cysteine protease inhibitors found in several monocots and dicots. In soybean, phytocystatins regulate several endogenous processes contributing immensely to this crop’s tolerance to abiotic stress factors. Soybeans offer numerous nutritional, pharmaceutical and industrial benefits; however, their growth and yields is hampered by drought, which causes more than 10% yield losses recorded every harvest period worldwide. This review analyses the role of papain-like cysteine proteases and their inhibitors in soybean plant growth and development under drought stress. It also describes their localisation, regulation, target organs and tissues, and the overall impact of cystatins on generating drought tolerance soybean plants. These proteins have many functions that remain poorly characterized, particularly under abiotic stress. Although much information is available on the utilisation of proteases for industrial applications, very few reports have focused on the impact of proteases on plant stress responses. The exploitation of cystatins in plant engineering, as competitive proteases inhibitors is one of the means that will guarantee the continued utilisation of soybeans as an important oilseed crop.


Drought, cysteine proteases, proteolysis, cystatins, senescence, soybean, drought resistance, genetic engineering.


Department of Biodiversity, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727

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