Abiotic stresses such as drought, high salinity and cold are common adverse environmental conditions that significantly influence plant growth and productivity worldwide. NAC domain proteins are important plant-specific transcription factors (TFs) that regulate the expression of many stress-inducible genes. They act both by an ABA-dependent or independent manner and play a critical role in improving abiotic stress tolerance of plants by interacting with cis- element present in the promoter region of various abiotic stressresponsive genes. We summarize recent studies highlighting the structural and functional characters of specific members of this family, the current knowledge on the relation between NACs and their cis-elements, with emphasis on the expression and regulation of NACs in the adaptive responses to abiotic stresses. The progress of the practical and application value of NACs in crop improvement engineering has also been discussed.