Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 124, Issue 5, pp 631–638 | Cite as

Regulation of gemma formation in the copper moss Scopelophila cataractae by environmental copper concentrations

  • Toshihisa Nomura
  • Seiichiro HasezawaEmail author
Regular Paper


Considerable attention has recently been focused on the use of hyperaccumulator plants for the phytoremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals. The moss, Scopelophila cataractae (Mitt.) Broth., is a typical hyperaccumulator that is usually observed only in copper-rich environments and which accumulates high concentrations of copper in its tissues. However, many of the physiological processes and mechanisms for metal hyperaccumulation in S. cataractae remain unknown. To address this issue, we examined the mechanisms regulating gemma formation, which is considered the main strategy by which S. cataractae relocates to new copper-rich areas. From this study we found that treatment of S. cataractae with high concentrations of copper suppressed gemma formation but promoted protonemal growth. The suppressive effect was not observed by treatment with heavy metals other than copper. These results suggest the importance of copper-sensitive asexual reproduction in the unique life strategy of the copper moss, S. cataractae.


Hyperaccumulator Copper moss Scopelophila cataractae Asexual reproduction Gemma formation 



This study was supported by a Grant in-Aid for Scientific Research for Plant Graduate Student from Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Supported by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan to T.N.; a Grant in-Aid for Scientific Research for Priority Areas from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, Sports and Technology to S.H. (Nos. 21027009 and 22114505); and an Institute for Bioinformatics Research and Development (BIRD) grant from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) to S.H. We thank Dr. T. Higaki for critical reading of the manuscript and helpful advice. We also thank Zenpukuji temple in Ibaraki Prefecture for permission to collect S. cataractae gametophore samples, H. Kiguchi for identification of S. cataractae.

Supplementary material

10265_2010_389_MOESM1_ESM.tif (10.7 mb)
Supplementary Fig. S1 Effects of copper on growth of protonemal colony and gemma formation inS. cataractaethat inhabits natural rock walls and forms sporophytes. aS. cataractae protonemal colonies after two weeks culture on agar medium containing basal or 200 μM CuSO4. b Quantification of the relative protonemal colony diameters under the same conditions as in a. Each picture represents a typical example. Values represent mean + SE of three independent experiments (n = 27). c Gemmae released from a protonemal colony after two weeks culture on agar medium containing basal or 200 μM CuSO4. d Quantification of the number of gemmae released from a protonemal colony under the same conditions as in c. Gemmae were identified as small white dots. Each picture represents a typical example. Scale bars = 2 mm. Values represent mean + SE of three independent experiments (n = 12). (TIFF 11002 kb)
10265_2010_389_MOESM2_ESM.tif (1.1 mb)
Supplementary Fig. S2 Effects of various heavy metals on the growth ofS. cataractaeandP. patensprotonemal colonies. Protonemal colonies after two weeks culture on agar medium containing basal or 200 μM CuSO4, CoSO4, ZnSO4, NiSO4, or 100 μM Ag2SO4. Upper panels: S. cataractae, lower panels: P. patens. Each picture represents a typical example. (TIFF 1101 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology in Totipotency, Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Bioinformatics Research and Development (BIRD)Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)TokyoJapan

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