When plants conquered land, they developed specialized organs, tissues, and cells in order to survive in this new and harsh terrestrial environment. New cell polymers such as the hydrophobic lipid-based polyesters cutin, suberin, and sporopollenin were also developed for protection against water loss, radiation, and other potentially harmful abiotic factors. Cutin and waxes are the main components of the cuticle, which is the waterproof layer covering the epidermis of many aerial organs of land plants. Although the in vivo functions of the group of lipid binding proteins known as lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) are still rather unclear, there is accumulating evidence suggesting a role for LTPs in the transfer and deposition of monomers required for cuticle assembly. In this review, we first present an overview of the data connecting LTPs with cuticle synthesis. Furthermore, we propose liverworts and mosses as attractive model systems for revealing the specific function and activity of LTPs in the biosynthesis and evolution of the plant cuticle.
Keywords: LTP; Marchantia; cuticle; cutin; lipids; liverwort; moss; wax.