Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis of the effects of sub-ambient atmospheric oxygen and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on gametophytes of the moss, Physcomitrella patens

J Exp Bot. 2015 Jul;66(13):4001-12. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv197. Epub 2015 May 6.


It is widely accepted that atmospheric O2 has played a key role in the development of life on Earth, as evident from the coincidence between the rise of atmospheric O2 concentrations in the Precambrian and biological evolution. Additionally, it has also been suggested that low atmospheric O2 is one of the major drivers for at least two of the five mass-extinction events in the Phanerozoic. At the molecular level, our understanding of the responses of plants to sub-ambient O2 concentrations is largely confined to studies of the responses of underground organs, e.g. roots to hypoxic conditions. Oxygen deprivation often results in elevated CO2 levels, particularly under waterlogged conditions, due to slower gas diffusion in water compared to air. In this study, changes in the transcriptome of gametophytes of the moss Physcomitrella patens arising from exposure to sub-ambient O2 of 13% (oxygen deprivation) and elevated CO2 (1500 ppmV) were examined to further our understanding of the responses of lower plants to changes in atmospheric gaseous composition. Microarray analyses revealed that the expression of a large number of genes was affected under elevated CO2 (814 genes) and sub-ambient O2 conditions (576 genes). Intriguingly, the expression of comparatively fewer numbers of genes (411 genes) was affected under a combination of both sub-ambient O2 and elevated CO2 condition (low O2-high CO2). Overall, the results point towards the effects of atmospheric changes in CO2 and O2 on transcriptional reprogramming, photosynthetic regulation, carbon metabolism, and stress responses.

Keywords: Elevated carbon dioxide; Physcomitrella patens; microarray; sub-ambient oxygen..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atmosphere / chemistry
  • Bryopsida / drug effects
  • Bryopsida / genetics*
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Germ Cells, Plant / drug effects
  • Germ Cells, Plant / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxygen / pharmacology*
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Photosynthesis / genetics
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen