Yobi, A, et al., Metabolomic Profiling in Selaginella Lepidophylla at Various Hydration States Provides New Insights into the Mechanistic Basis of Desiccation Tolerance. Molecular Plant, 2013. 6(2): 369-385.


Selaginella lepidophylla is one of only a few species of spike mosses (Selaginellaceae) that have evolved desiccation tolerance (DT) or the ability to 'resurrect' from an air-dried state. In order to understand the metabolic basis of DT, S. lepidophylla was subjected to a five-stage, rehydration/dehydration cycle, then analyzed using non-biased, global metabolomics profiling technology based on GC/MS and UHLC/MS/MS(2) platforms. A total of 251 metabolites including 167 named (66.5%) and 84 (33.4%) unnamed compounds were characterized. Only 42 (16.7%) and 74 (29.5%) of compounds showed significantly increased or decreased abundance, respectively, indicating that most compounds were produced constitutively, including highly abundant trehalose, sucrose, and glucose. Several glycolysis/gluconeogenesis and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates showed increased abundance at 100% relative water content (RWC) and 50% RWC. Vanillate, a potent antioxidant, was also more abundant in the hydrated state. Many different sugar alcohols and sugar acids were more abundant in the hydrated state. These polyols likely decelerate the rate of water loss during the drying process as well as slow water absorption during rehydration, stabilize proteins, and scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS). In contrast, nitrogen-rich and γ-glutamyl amino acids, citrulline, and nucleotide catabolism products (e.g. allantoin) were more abundant in the dry states, suggesting that these compounds might play important roles in nitrogen remobilization during rehydration or in ROS scavenging. UV-protective compounds such as 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)propionate, apigenin, and naringenin, were more abundant in the dry states. Most lipids were produced constitutively, with the exception of choline phosphate, which was more abundant in dry states and likely plays a role in membrane hydration and stabilization. In contrast, several polyunsaturated fatty acids were more abundant in the hydrated states, suggesting that these compounds likely help maintain membrane fluidity during dehydration. Lastly, S. lepidophylla contained seven unnamed compounds that displayed twofold or greater abundance in dry or rehydrating states, suggesting that these compounds might play adaptive roles in DT.

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