Date of this Version
Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 71, No. 11 pp. 3270–3278, 2020 doi:10.1093/jxb/eraa105
The present review summarizes the effects of desiccation in streptophyte green algae, as numerous experimental studies have been performed over the past decade particularly in the early branching streptophyte Klebsormidium sp. and the late branching Zygnema circumcarinatum. The latter genus gives its name to the Zygenmatophyceae, the sister group to land plants. For both organisms, transcriptomic investigations of desiccation stress are available, and illustrate a high variability in the stress response depending on the conditions and the strains used. However, overall, the responses of both organisms to desiccation stress are very similar to that of land plants. We highlight the evolu- tion of two highly regulated protein families, the late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins and the major intrinsic protein (MIP) family. Chlorophytes and streptophytes encode LEA4 and LEA5, while LEA2 have so far only been found in streptophyte algae, indicating an evolutionary origin in this group. Within the MIP family, a high transcriptomic regulation of a tonoplast intrinsic protein (TIP) has been found for the first time outside the embryophytes in Z. circumcarinatum. The MIP family became more complex on the way to terrestrialization but simplified afterwards. These observations suggest a key role for water transport proteins in desiccation tolerance of streptophytes.