, Volume 220, Issue 3, pp 384-394
Date: 18 Aug 2004

Physcomitrella patens is highly tolerant against drought, salt and osmotic stress

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Abstract

In order to determine the degree of tolerance of the moss Physcomitrella patens to different abiotic stress conditions, we examined its tolerance against salt, osmotic and dehydration stress. Compared to other plants like Arabidopsis thaliana, P. patens exhibits a high degree of abiotic stress tolerance, making it a valuable source for the identification of genes effecting the stress adaptation. Plants that had been treated with NaCl tolerated concentrations up to 350 mM. Treatments with sorbitol revealed that plants are able to survive concentrations up to 500 mM. Furthermore, plants that had lost 92% water on a fresh-weight basis were able to recover successfully. For molecular analyses, a P. patens expressed sequence tag (EST) database was searched for cDNA sequences showing homology to stress-associated genes of seed plants and bacteria. 45 novel P. patens genes were identified and subjected to cDNA macroarray analyses to define their expression pattern in response to water deficit. Among the selected cDNAs, we were able to identify a set of genes that is specifically up-regulated upon dehydration. These genes encode proteins exerting their function in maintaining the integrity of the plant cell as well as proteins that are known to be members of signaling networks. The identified genes will serve as molecular markers and potential targets for future functional analyses.