Desiccation sensitivity and tolerance in the moss Physcomitrella patens: Assessing limits and damage.

The moss Physcomitrella patens is becoming the model of choice for functional genomic studies at the cellular level. Studies report that Physcomitrella survives moderate osmotic and salt stress, and that desiccation tolerance can be induced by exogenous ABA. Our goal was to quantify the extent of dehydration tolerance in wild type moss and to examine the nature of cellular damage caused by desiccation. We exposed Physcomitrella to humidities that generate water potentials from-4 (97% RH) to-273 MPa (13% RH) and monitored water loss until equilibrium. Water contents were measured on a dry matter basis to determine the extent of dehydration because fresh weights (FW) were found to be variable and, therefore, unreliable. We measured electrolyte leakage from rehydrating moss, assessed overall regrowth, and imaged cells to evaluate their response to drying and rehydration. Physcomitrella did not routinely survive water potentials \-13 MPa. Upon rehydration, moss dried to water contents[0.4 g g dm-1 maintained levels of leakage similar to those of hydrated controls. Moss dried to lower water contents leaked extensively, suggesting that plasma membranes were damaged. Moss protonemal cells were shrunken and their walls twisted, even at -13 MPa. Moss cells rehydrated after drying to -273 MPa failed to re-expand completely, again indicating membrane damage. ABA treatment elicited tolerance of desiccation to at least -273 MPa and limited membrane damage. Results of this work will form the basis for ongoing studies on the functional genomics of desiccation tolerance at the cellular level.

Main Author: Koster, Karen.
Other Authors: Balsamo, Ronald., Espinoza, Catherine., Oliver, Melvin.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2010
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