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Review Article|27 Jul 2023|OPEN
Insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying responses of apple trees to abiotic stresses
Xuewei Li1 ,† , Ziqing Ma1 ,† , Yi Song1 , Wenyun Shen1 , Qianyu Yue1 , Abid Khan2 , Muhammad Mobeen Tahir1 , Xiaofei Wang3 , Mickael Malnoy4 , Fengwang Ma1 , Vincent Bus5 , Shuangxi Zhou6 , and Qingmei Guan,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas/Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Apple, College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
2Department of Horticulture, The University of Haripur, Haripur 22620, Pakistan
3State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Shandong Collaborative Innovation Center for Fruit and Vegetable Production with High Quality and Efficiency, College of Horticulture Science and Engineering, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai-An, Shandong 271000, China
4Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all’Adige 38098, Italy
5The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Havelock North 4157, New Zealand
6Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad144 (2023)
Views: 253

Received: 11 Oct 2022
Accepted: 13 Jul 2023
Published online: 27 Jul 2023


Apple (Malus×domestica) is a popular temperate fruit crop worldwide. However, its growth, productivity, and quality are often adversely affected by abiotic stresses such as drought, extreme temperature, and high salinity. Due to the long juvenile phase and highly heterozygous genome, the conventional breeding approaches for stress-tolerant cultivars are time-consuming and resource-intensive. These issues may be resolved by feasible molecular breeding techniques for apples, such as gene editing and marker-assisted selection. Therefore, it is necessary to acquire a more comprehensive comprehension of the molecular mechanisms underpinning apples’ response to abiotic stress. In this review, we summarize the latest research progress in the molecular response of apples to abiotic stressors, including the gene expression regulation, protein modifications, and epigenetic modifications. We also provide updates on new approaches for improving apple abiotic stress tolerance, while discussing current challenges and future perspectives for apple molecular breeding.