Transcriptome Profiling of the Green Alga Spirogyra pratensis (Charophyta) Suggests an Ancestral Role for Ethylene in Cell Wall Metabolism, Photosynthesis, and Abiotic Stress Responses.
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It is well known that ethylene regulates a diverse set of developmental and stress-related processes in angiosperms, yet its roles in early-diverging embryophytes and algae are poorly understood. Recently, it was shown that ethylene functions as a hormone in the charophyte green alga Spirogyra pratensis Since land plants evolved from charophytes, this implies conservation of ethylene as a hormone in green plants for at least 450 million years. However, the physiological role of ethylene in charophyte algae has remained unknown. To gain insight into ethylene responses in Spirogyra, we used mRNA sequencing to measure changes in gene expression over time in Spirogyra filaments in response to an ethylene treatment. Our analyses show that at the transcriptional level, ethylene predominantly regulates three processes in Spirogyra: (1) modification of the cell wall matrix by expansins and xyloglucan endotransglucosylases/hydrolases, (2) down-regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis and photosynthesis, and (3) activation of abiotic stress responses. We confirmed that the photosynthetic capacity and chlorophyll content were reduced by an ethylene treatment and that several abiotic stress conditions could stimulate cell elongation in an ethylene-dependent manner. We also found that the Spirogyra transcriptome harbors only 10 ethylene-responsive transcription factor (ERF) homologs, several of which are regulated by ethylene. These results provide an initial understanding of the hormonal responses induced by ethylene in Spirogyra and help to reconstruct the role of ethylene in ancestral charophytes prior to the origin of land plants.
AuthorsVan de Poel, B; Cooper, ED; Van Der Straeten, D; Chang, C; Delwiche, CF
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