The mechanisms plants use to adapt to abiotic stress have been widely studied in a number of seed plants. Major research has been focused on the isolation of stress-responsive genes as a means to understand the molecular events underlying the adaptation process. To study stress-related gene regulation in the moss Physcomitrella patens we have isolated two cDNAs showing homology to highly conserved small hydrophobic proteins from different seed plants. The corresponding genes are up-regulated by dehydration, salt, sorbitol, cold and the hormone abscisic acid, indicating overlapping pathways are involved in the control of these genes. Based on the molecular characterization of the moss homologs we propose that signaling pathways in response to abiotic stress may have been altered during the evolution of land plants.
Copyright 2004 Springer-Verlag