Article

A footprint of desiccation tolerance in the genome of Xerophyta viscosa

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Abstract

Desiccation tolerance is common in seeds and various other organisms, but only a few angiosperm species possess vegetative desiccation tolerance. These ‘resurrection species’ may serve as ideal models for the ultimate design of crops with enhanced drought tolerance. To understand the molecular and genetic mechanisms enabling vegetative desiccation tolerance, we produced a high-quality whole-genome sequence for the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa and assessed transcriptome changes during its dehydration. Data revealed induction of transcripts typically associated with desiccation tolerance in seeds and involvement of orthologues of ABI3 and ABI5, both key regulators of seed maturation. Dehydration resulted in both increased, but predominantly reduced, transcript abundance of genomic ‘clusters of desiccation-associated genes’ (CoDAGs), reflecting the cessation of growth that allows for the expression of desiccation tolerance. Vegetative desiccation tolerance in X. viscosa was found to be uncoupled from drought-induced senescence. We provide strong support for the hypothesis that vegetative desiccation tolerance arose by redirection of genetic information from desiccation-tolerant seeds.

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Author information

Author notes

    • Maria-Cecília D. Costa
    •  & Mariana A. S. Artur

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands

    • Maria-Cecília D. Costa
    • , Mariana A. S. Artur
    • , Julio Maia
    • , Eef Jonkheer
    • , Martijn F. L. Derks
    • , Harm Nijveen
    • , Wilco Ligterink
    •  & Henk W. M. Hilhorst
  2. Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, 7701 Cape Town, South Africa

    • Maria-Cecília D. Costa
    •  & Jill M. Farrant
  3. Bioinformatics Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands

    • Eef Jonkheer
    • , Martijn F. L. Derks
    •  & Harm Nijveen
  4. Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Queensland University of Technology, PO Box 2434, Queensland 4001, Brisbane, Australia

    • Brett Williams
    •  & Sagadevan G. Mundree
  5. Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Cologne, Germany

    • José M. Jiménez-Gómez
  6. Bioscience, Wageningen Plant Research International, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands

    • Thamara Hesselink
    •  & Elio G. W. M. Schijlen
  7. USDA-ARS-MWA-PGRU, 205 Curtis Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA

    • Melvin J. Oliver

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Contributions

M.-C.D.C. and M.A.S.A. wrote the article; M.-C.D.C., H.N., E.J. and M.F.L.D. performed the bioinformatics; J.M. and W.L. contributed to the genome and transcriptome analysis; J.M.J.-G. and M.J.O. performed and analysed the transcriptomics; B.W. and S.G.M. provided the autophagy/anti-senescence dataset and performed blasting; T.H. and E.G.W.M.S. prepared the libraries and performed the PacBio sequencing and initial genome analysis; J.M.F. and H.W.M.H. initiated and coordinated the work and directed preparation of the article.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henk W. M. Hilhorst.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–6, Supplementary Tables 1–6, Supplementary References.

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Data Table

    List of 4,914 probe sets used to build the network and network analysis results. Network analysis was done using Cytoscape's built-in tool NetworkAnalyzer.