Studies of Physcomitrella patens reveal that ethylene-mediated submergence responses arose relatively early in land-plant evolution

Yuki Yasumura, Ronald Pierik, Mark D. Fricker, Laurentius A. C. J. Voesenek, Nicholas P. Harberd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Colonization of the land by multicellular green plants was a fundamental step in the evolution of life on earth. Land plants evolved from fresh-water aquatic algae, and the transition to a terrestrial environment required the acquisition of developmental plasticity appropriate to the conditions of water availability, ranging from drought to flood. Here we show that extant bryophytes exhibit submergence-induced developmental plasticity, suggesting that submergence responses evolved relatively early in the evolution of land plants. We also show that a major component of the bryophyte submergence response is controlled by the phytohormone ethylene, using a perception mechanism that has subsequently been conserved throughout the evolution of land plants. Thus a plant environmental response mechanism with major ecological and agricultural importance probably had its origins in the very earliest stages of the colonization of the land. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-959
Number of pages13
JournalThe Plant Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 18 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-I1-002-03
Acknowledgements: We thank Yasuko Kamisugi (University of Leeds, UK) for P. patens; Rob Welschen (Utrecht University, Netherlands) and John Baker (Oxford, UK) for technical assistance; Kimitsune Ishizaki and Takayuki Kohchi (Kyoto, Japan), and Katsuyuki Yamato (Kinki University, Japan) for help with BLAST search and sharing of Marchantia EST data; Ruth Timmes, Jay Thierer and Charles Delwiche (University of Maryland, USA) for help with BLAST search and sharing of charophytic EST data; Mark Smedley (Norwich, UK) for plasmid pBract211, Nuno D. Pires (Zurich, Switzerland) for PpRSL gene primers and Jeremy Solly (Cambridge, UK) for ABA signalling gene primers. This work was supported in part by award no. KUK-I1-002-03 (to NPH) made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and by British Council Partnership Programme in Science made by the British Council and Platform Beta Techniek.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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