Aug 18, 2019 | Updated: 08:03 AM EDT

Plant Cuticles Of Moss Actually Protects The Plant From Water Loss

Mar 13, 2017 01:28 AM EDT

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Researchers have discovered that Moss cuticles develop a biological pathway. Those cuticles are usually covered with a waxy substance which is made of epidermal cells which help the plant to protect them from water loss. This kind of mechanism facilitates the transition of evolution in plants from fresh water to land.

An international team of Scientists from the University of Freiburg, Germany and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Institute of Plant Molecular Biology (IBMP) in Strasbourg, France started their experiment on the moss Physcomitrella patens. They have published their results in the journal of Nature Communications.

450 million years ago from today, first plant cuticle appeared when the first plants colonized the hitherto hostile land masses. Lead researcher of this study Professor Ralf Reski from the University of Freiburg, said in his journal,“Our results reveal one of the earliest evolutionary innovations that helped the first plants to survive on land over 450 million years ago”.

Those waxy cuticles not only protect the plant from water loss but also allows them to spread on land. Same kind of chemical reactions could be found in seed plants. Although, they have evolved later. They use to produce biopolymers lignin, cutin, and suberin.

According to ScienceDaily, there is a process in cell walls called lignification which helps trees to grow wood and to increase the height but, mosses do not have lignin and they are tiny. So, it was still unknown how moss cells get protected with the biochemical pathway.

In their new research, scientists found that CYP98 enzyme from Cytochromes P450 family plays the main role. It develops a phenol-enriched cuticle in Physcomitrella. It is responsible for initiating the production of lignin in seed plants.

For better observation researchers applied caffeic acid to switch off the genetic code which synthesizes the enzyme. In that case, moss develops itself without cuticles. Researchers also found that the moss was unable to form complex tissues and, moreover, they were not able to withstand the environment. Reski explained that the moss cuticle predated the evolution of lignin, cutin, and suberin.

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