Dehydration and rejuvenation during rehydration is the salient feature of certain plants which can withstand drought. The present study was undertaken to justify the tolerance capacity of Campylopus flexuosus, the moss of the Ponmudi belts of Thiruvananthapuram, against dehydration followed by rehydration. Fresh leafy plants of C. flexuosus were hydrated, afterwards dried, and rehydrated under in vitro environment. In the course of loss of water from cells, the relative water content of desiccated thallus was reduced after 4 h with intense inward curling. Upon rehydration, the RWC was regained 85% of its initial water content within hours. The rehydrated thallus showed the normal morphology. Photosynthetic parameters like chlorophyll b (1.01 to 1.56 μg g –1 ), and total carotenoid (0.251 to 0.514 μg g –1 ) increased remarkably in the desiccated state. Superoxide radical (O2 _) content increased (11.4 nmol/g FW), resulting in an oxidative burst during desiccation. Consequently, antioxidant enzymes such as catalase (0.369 U mg protein −1), superoxide dismutase ( 2.68 to 6.02 Units mg−1), peroxidase ( 0.12 μmol min−1 g−1 protein) and glutathione reductase ( 312 Units mg−1 protein) activities were up-regulated in the desiccated thallus to ameliorate oxidative damage. Increased malondialdehyde (1.08 nmol g−1 FW) content during desiccation substantiates membrane damage and loss of its integrity. During desiccation, the osmolytes sucrose and proline (27.6 and 2.57 μmol/g FW respectively) were enhanced to maintain cell structure integrity. After rehydration, biochemical and morphological properties were maintained similar to hydrated conditions. Thus, the study reflects the unique adaptations of the moss to tide over desiccation tolerance.
Antioxidant enzymes, Desiccation, Photosynthetic pigments, Proline, Resurrection, Tolerance
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