Because of their unique tolerance to desiccation, the so-called resurrection plants can be considered as excellent models for extensive research on plant reactions to environmental stresses. The vegetative tissues of these species are able to withstand long dry periods and to recover very rapidly upon re-watering. This study follows the dynamics of key components involved in leaf tissue antioxidant systems under desiccation in the resurrection plant Haberlea rhodopensis and the related non-resurrection species Chirita eberhardtii. In H. rhodopensis these parameters were also followed during recovery after full drying. A well-defined test system was developed to characterise the different responses of the two species under drought stress. Results show that levels of H₂O₂ decreased significantly both in H. rhodopensis and C. eberhardtii, but that accumulation of malondialdehyde was much more pronounced in the desiccation-tolerant H. rhodopensis than in the non-resurrection C. eberhardtii. A putative protective role could be attributed to accumulation of total phenols in H. rhodopensis during the late stages of drying. The total glutathione concentration and GSSG/GSH ratio increased upon complete dehydration of H. rhodopensis. Our data on soluble sugars suggest that sugar ratios might be important for plant desiccation tolerance. An array of different adaptations could thus be responsible for the resurrection phenotype of H. rhodopensis.
Sugar ratios, glutathione redox status and phenols in the resurrection species Haberlea rhodopensis and the closely related non-resurrection species Chirita eberhardtii
Publication: Plant Biology
Genera: Chirita, Haberlea