Yobi, A, et al., Comparative Metabolic Profiling between Desiccation-Sensitive and Desiccation-Tolerant Species of Selaginella Reveals Insights into the Resurrection Trait. The Plant Journal, 2012. 72(983-999.
Metabolon results led to:
An understanding of the mechanistic basis of desiccation tolerance in plants
Identification of key metabolic differences between desiccation tolerant and susceptible plants
Key metabolomic observations:
Constitutive expression of compatible solutes and antioxidants in the hydrated state results in little perturbation in metabolism, in response to dehydration stress
Determining the elements that confer drought resistance in plants is critical for engineering drought tolerant traits in crops. These investigators used naturally occurring desiccation tolerant plants species to delve deeper into the molecular underpinnings of DR and therefore performed metabolomics on two closely related species of spike moss, Selaginella Leidophylla (SL) which is desiccation tolerant and Selaginella moellendorffii (SM), which is desiccation susceptible. Remarkably, neither species mounted a profound response to dehydration but instead, the desiccation tolerant SL was poised to manage dehydration with constituitive activity exemplified by higher levels of a variety of compatible solutes (sugars, polyols, amino acids, betaines), antioxidants, and flavonoids. In contrast, these metabolic features were lacking in SM. Thus, this work advanced mechanistic understanding of desiccation tolerance and implies that baseline traits may be as important to consider as the response that is mounted upon dehydration.