Water-Wisteria as an ideal plant to study heterophylly in higher aquatic plants

Abstract

Key message

The semi-aquatic plant Water-Wisteria is suggested as a new model to study heterophylly due to its many advantages and typical leaf phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental factors and phytohormones.

Abstract

Water-Wisteria, Hygrophila difformis (Acanthaceae), is a fast growing semi-aquatic plant that exhibits a variety of leaf shapes, from simple leaves to highly branched compound leaves, depending on the environment. The phenomenon by which leaves change their morphology in response to environmental conditions is called heterophylly. In order to investigate the characteristics of heterophylly, we assessed the morphology and anatomy of Hygrophila difformis in different conditions. Subsequently, we verified that phytohormones and environmental factors can induce heterophylly and found that Hygrophila difformis is easily propagated vegetatively through either leaf cuttings or callus induction, and the callus can be easily transformed by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. These results suggested that Hygrophila difformis is a good model plant to study heterophylly in higher aquatic plants.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Seisuke Kimura from Kyoto Sangyo University for his generous help on H. difformis genome survey. We also offer our thanks to Dr. Lei Chen from the South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences for his helpful discussions. This work was supported by grants to Prof. Hongwei Hou from the Project of the State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology (2016FB04) and the project of the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (2015CFB488).

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Correspondence to Hongwei Hou.

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Communicated by Xian Sheng Zhang.

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Li, G., Hu, S., Yang, J. et al. Water-Wisteria as an ideal plant to study heterophylly in higher aquatic plants. Plant Cell Rep 36, 1225–1236 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00299-017-2148-6

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Keywords

  • Hygrophila difformis
  • Aquatic plant
  • Heterophylly
  • Leaf
  • Model plant
  • Phytohormone