Mitochondrial activity and biogenesis during resurrection of Haberlea rhodopensis

New Phytol. 2022 Nov;236(3):943-957. doi: 10.1111/nph.18396. Epub 2022 Aug 11.


Haberlea rhodopensis is a resurrection plant that can tolerate extreme and prolonged periods of desiccation with a rapid restoration of physiological function upon rehydration. Specialized mechanisms are required to minimize cellular damage during desiccation and to maintain integrity for rapid recovery following rehydration. In this study we used respiratory activity measurements, electron microscopy, transcript, protein and blue native-PAGE analysis to investigate mitochondrial activity and biogenesis in fresh, desiccated and rehydrated detached H. rhodopensis leaves. We demonstrate that unlike photosynthesis, mitochondrial respiration was almost immediately activated to levels of fresh tissue upon rehydration. The abundance of transcripts and proteins involved in mitochondrial respiration and biogenesis were at comparable levels in fresh, desiccated and rehydrated tissues. Blue native-PAGE analysis revealed fully assembled and equally abundant OXPHOS complexes in mitochondria isolated from fresh, desiccated and rehydrated detached leaves. We observed a high abundance of alternative respiratory components which correlates with the observed high uncoupled respiration capacity in desiccated tissue. Our study reveals that during desiccation of vascular H. rhodopensis tissue, mitochondrial composition is conserved and maintained at a functional state allowing for an almost immediate activation to full capacity upon rehydration. Mitochondria-specific mechanisms were activated during desiccation which probably play a role in maintaining tolerance.

Keywords: Haberlea rhodopensis; desiccation tolerance; mitochondria; mitochondrial biogenesis; respiration; resurrection plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Craterostigma* / metabolism
  • Desiccation
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plant Proteins* / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins