Three-dimensional functional gradients direct stem curling in the resurrection plant Selaginella lepidophylla.
ABSTRACT: Upon hydration and dehydration, the vegetative tissue of Selaginella lepidophylla can reversibly swell and shrink to generate complex morphological transformations. Here, we investigate how structural and compositional properties at tissue and cell wall levels in S. lepidophylla lead to different stem curling profiles between inner and outer stems. Our results show that directional bending in both stem types is associated with cross-sectional gradients of tissue density, cell orientation and secondary cell wall composition between adaxial and abaxial stem sides. In inner stems, longitudinal gradients of cell wall thickness and composition affect tip-to-base tissue swelling and shrinking, allowing for more complex curling as compared to outer stems. Together, these features yield three-dimensional functional gradients that allow the plant to reproducibly deform in predetermined patterns that vary depending on the stem type. This study is the first to demonstrate functional gradients at different hierarchical levels combining to operate in a three-dimensional context.
Project description:As a physical response to water loss during drought, inner Selaginella lepidophylla stems curl into a spiral shape to prevent photoirradiation damage to their photosynthetic surfaces. Curling is reversible and involves hierarchical deformation, making S. lepidophylla an attractive model with which to study water-responsive actuation. Investigation at the organ and tissue level has led to the understanding that the direction and extent of stem curling can be partially attributed to stiffness gradients between adaxial and abaxial stem sides at the nanoscale. Here, we examine cell wall elasticity to understand how it contributes to the overall stem curling. We compare the measured elastic moduli along the stem length and between adaxial and abaxial stem sides using atomic force microscopy nano-indentation testing. We show that changes in cortex secondary cell wall development lead to cell wall stiffness gradients from stem tip to base, and also between adaxial and abaxial stem sides. Changes in cortical cell wall morphology and secondary cell wall composition are suggested to contribute to the observed stiffness gradients.
Project description:The spirally arranged stems of the spikemoss Selaginella lepidophylla, an ancient resurrection plant, compactly curl into a nest-ball shape upon dehydration. Due to its spiral phyllotaxy, older outer stems on the plant interlace and envelope the younger inner stems forming the plant centre. Stem curling is a morphological mechanism that limits photoinhibitory and thermal damages the plant might experience in arid environments. Here, we investigate the distinct conformational changes of outer and inner stems of S. lepidophylla triggered by dehydration. Outer stems bend into circular rings in a relatively short period of desiccation, whereas inner stems curl slowly into spirals due to hydro-actuated strain gradient along their length. This arrangement eases both the tight packing of the plant during desiccation and its fast opening upon rehydration. The insights gained from this work shed light on the hydro-responsive movements in plants and might contribute to the development of deployable structures with remarkable shape transformations in response to environmental stimuli.
Project description:Plant genome size varies by four orders of magnitude, and most of this variation stems from dynamic changes in repetitive DNA content. Here we report the small 109?Mb genome of Selaginella lepidophylla, a clubmoss with extreme desiccation tolerance. Single-molecule sequencing enables accurate haplotype assembly of a single heterozygous S. lepidophylla plant, revealing extensive structural variation. We observe numerous haplotype-specific deletions consisting of largely repetitive and heavily methylated sequences, with enrichment in young Gypsy LTR retrotransposons. Such elements are active but rapidly deleted, suggesting "bloat and purge" to maintain a small genome size. Unlike all other land plant lineages, Selaginella has no evidence of a whole-genome duplication event in its evolutionary history, but instead shows unique tandem gene duplication patterns reflecting adaptation to extreme drying. Gene expression changes during desiccation in S. lepidophylla mirror patterns observed across angiosperm resurrection plants.
Project description:Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide that accumulates to large quantities in microbial cells, but in plants it is generally present in very low, barely-detectible levels. A notable exception is the desiccation-tolerant plant Selaginella lepidophylla, which accumulates very high levels of trehalose in both the hydrated and dehydrated state. As trehalose is known to protect membranes, proteins, and whole cells against dehydration stress, we have been interested in the characterization of the trehalose biosynthesis enzymes of S. lepidophylla; they could assist in engineering crop plants towards better stress tolerance. We previously isolated and characterized trehalose-6-phosphate synthases from Arabidopsis thaliana (desiccation sensitive) and S. lepidophylla (desiccation tolerant) and found that they had similar enzymatic characteristics. In this paper, we describe the isolation and characterization of trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase from S. lepidophylla and show that its catalytic activities are also similar to those of its homolog in A. thaliana. Screening of an S. lepidophylla cDNA library using yeast trehalose biosynthesis mutants resulted in the isolation of a large number of trehalose biosynthesis genes that were of microbial rather than plant origin. Thus, we suggest that the high trehalose levels observed in S. lepidophylla are not the product of the plant but that of endophytes, which are known to be present in this plant. Additionally, the high trehalose levels in S. lepidophylla are unlikely to account for its desiccation tolerance, because its drought-stress-sensitive relative, S. moellendorffii, also accumulated high levels of trehalose.
Project description:Epithelial monolayers are two-dimensional cell sheets which compartmentalize the body and organs of multicellular organisms. Their morphogenesis during development or pathology results from patterned endogenous and exogenous forces and their interplay with tissue mechanical properties. In particular, bending of epithelia is thought to result from active torques generated by the polarization of myosin motors along their apicobasal axis. However, the contribution of these out-of-plane forces to morphogenesis remains challenging to evaluate because of the lack of direct mechanical measurement. Here we use epithelial curling to characterize the out-of-plane mechanics of epithelial monolayers. We find that curls of high curvature form spontaneously at the free edge of epithelial monolayers devoid of substrate in vivo and in vitro. Curling originates from an enrichment of myosin in the basal domain that generates an active spontaneous curvature. By measuring the force necessary to flatten curls, we can then estimate the active torques and the bending modulus of the tissue. Finally, we show that the extent of curling is controlled by the interplay between in-plane and out-of-plane stresses in the monolayer. Such mechanical coupling emphasizes a possible role for in-plane stresses in shaping epithelia during morphogenesis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Leaf shape development research is important because leaf shapes such as moderate curling can help to improve light energy utilization efficiency. Leaf growth and development includes initiation of the leaf primordia and polar differentiation of the proximal-distal, adaxial-abaxial, and centrolateral axes. Changes in leaf adaxial-abaxial polarity formation, auxin synthesis and signaling pathways, and development of sclerenchyma and cuticle can cause abnormal leaf shapes such as up-curling leaf. Although many genes related to leaf shape development have been reported, the detailed mechanism of leaf development is still unclear. Here, we report an up-curling leaf mutant plant from our Brassica napus germplasm. We studied its inheritance, mapped the up-curling leaf locus BnUC1, built near-isogenic lines for the Bnuc1 mutant, and evaluated the effect of the dominant leaf curl locus on leaf photosynthetic efficiency and agronomic traits. RESULTS:The up-curling trait was controlled by one dominant locus in a progeny population derived from NJAU5734 and Zhongshuang 11 (ZS11). This BnUC1 locus was mapped in an interval of 2732.549?kb on the A05 chromosome of B. napus using Illumina Brassica 60?K Bead Chip Array. To fine map BnUC1, we designed 201 simple sequence repeat (SSR) primers covering the mapping interval. Among them, 16 polymorphic primers that narrowed the mapping interval to 54.8?kb were detected using a BC6F2 family population with 654 individuals. We found six annotated genes in the mapping interval using the B. napus reference genome, including BnaA05g18250D and BnaA05g18290D, which bioinformatics and gene expression analyses predicted may be responsible for leaf up-curling. The up-curling leaf trait had negative effects on the agronomic traits of 30 randomly selected individuals from the BC6F2 population. The near-isogenic line of the up-curling leaf (ZS11-UC1) was constructed to evaluate the effect of BnUC1 on photosynthetic efficiency. The results indicated that the up-curling leaf trait locus was beneficial to improve the photosynthetic efficiency. CONCLUSIONS:An up-curling leaf mutant Bnuc1 was controlled by one dominant locus BnUC1. This locus had positive effects on photosynthetic efficiency, negative effects on some agronomic traits, and may help to increase planting density in B. napus.