Modifications of the cellular proteome pool upon stress allow plants to tolerate environmental changes. Alternative splicing is the most significant mechanism responsible for the production of multiple protein isoforms from a single gene. The spliceosome, a large ribonucleoprotein complex, together with several associated proteins, controls this pre-mRNA processing, adding an additional level of regulation to gene expression. Deep sequencing of transcriptomes revealed that this co- or post-transcriptional mechanism is highly induced by abiotic stress, and concerns vast numbers of stress-related genes. Confirming the importance of splicing in plant stress adaptation, key players of stress signaling have been shown to encode alternative transcripts, whereas mutants lacking splicing factors or associated components show a modified sensitivity and defective responses to abiotic stress. Here, we examine recent literature on alternative splicing and splicing alterations in response to environmental stresses, focusing on its role in stress adaptation and analyzing the future perspectives and directions for research.

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