Higher plants not only provide human beings renewable food, building materials and energy, but also play the most important role in keeping a stable environment on earth. Plants differ from animals in many aspects, but the important is that plants are more easily influenced by environment than animals. Plants have a series of fine mechanisms for responding to environmental changes, which has been established during their long-period evolution and artificial domestication. The machinery related to molecular biology is the most important basis. The elucidation of it will extremely and purposefully promote the sustainable utilization of plant resources and make the best use of its current potential under different scales. This molecular mechanism at least includes drought signal recognition (input), signal transduction (many cascade biochemical reactions are involved in this process), signal output, signal responses and phenotype realization, which is a multi-dimension network system and contains many levels of gene expression and regulation. We will focus on the physiological and molecular adaptive machinery of plants under soil water stress and draw a possible blueprint for it. Meanwhile, the issues and perspectives are also discussed. We conclude that biological measures is the basic solution to solving various types of issues in relation to sustainable development and the plant measures is the eventual way.
Keywords: Higher plants, soil water stress, gene regulatory network, drought, anti-drought gene resources, signal, ion homeostasis, physiological mechanisms