Expression dynamics of dehydration tolerance in the tropical plant Marchantia inflexa

Rose A. Marks, Jeramiah J. Smith, Robert VanBuren, David Nicholas McLetchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tolerance to prolonged water deficit occurs along a continuum in plants, with dehydration tolerance (DhT) and desiccation tolerance (DT) representing some of the most extreme adaptations to water scarcity. Although DhT and DT presumably vary among individuals of a single species, this variability remains largely unstudied. Here, we characterized expression dynamics throughout a dehydration−rehydration time-course in six diverse genotypes of the dioecious liverwort Marchantia inflexa. We identified classical signatures of stress response in M. inflexa, including major changes in transcripts related to metabolism, expression of LEA and ELIP genes, and evidence of cell wall remodeling. However, we detected very little temporal synchronization of these responses across different genotypes of M. inflexa, which may be related to genotypic variation among samples, constitutive expression of dehydration-associated transcripts, the sequestration of mRNAs in ribonucleoprotein partials prior to drying, or the lower tolerance of M. inflexa relative to most bryophytes studied to date. Our characterization of intraspecific variation in expression dynamics suggests that differences in the timing of transcriptional adjustments contribute to variation among genotypes, and that developmental differences impact the relative tolerance of meristematic and differentiated tissues. This work highlights the complexity and variability of water stress tolerance, and underscores the need for comparative studies that seek to characterize variation in DT and DhT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Marchantia inflexa
  • dehydration tolerance
  • desiccation tolerance
  • drought
  • expression dynamics
  • genetic variation
  • liverwort
  • sex
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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