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Water molecular structure underpins extreme desiccation tolerance of the resurrection plant Haberlea rhodopensis.

ABSTRACT: Haberlea rhodopensis is a resurrection plant with an extremely high desiccation tolerance. Even after long periods of almost full desiccation, its physiological functions are recovered shortly upon re-watering. In order to identify physiological strategies which contribute to its remarkable drought stress tolerance we used near infrared spectroscopy to investigate the state of water in the leaves of this plant and compared it to its relative, non-resurrection plant species Deinostigma eberhardtii. Here we show, using a novel aquaphotomics spectral analysis, that H. rhodopensis performs a dynamic regulation of water molecular structure during dehydration directed at drastic decrease of free water molecules, increase of water molecules with 4 hydrogen bonds, and a massive accumulation of water dimers in the full desiccation stage. Our findings suggest that changes in water structure mirror the changes in major metabolites and antioxidants which together constitute a robust defense system underlying the desiccation tolerance of the resurrection plant, while the water dimer may hold special importance for the "drying without dying" ability.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC6395626 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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