Aacquisition of a programmed cell death system was the key to plants coming ashore!

March 24, 2014

The moss mechanism that creates cells for carrying water and supporting structure is clarified for the first time

Joint research between the RIKEN CSRS, Nara Institute of Science and Technology and the National Institute for Basic Biology has determined the mechanism that creates two types of special cells in moss: water-conducting cells and supporting cells.

Part of this mechanism includes programmed death of cells to provide mechanical strength to the stem while allowing efficient water conduction. The team’s findings mark the first time that the importance of this cell death system has been clarified, and supports the hypothesis that an efficient internal water-transport mechanism in primitive plants was crucial to their expansion onto land and subsequent prospering.

These findings prove that the mechanism to create biomass cells such as water-conduits and fibers is common to all plants on land and are expected to contribute to research for increasing woody biomass production.


Original article
Science doi: 10.1126/science.1248417
B. Xu, M. Ohtani, M. Yamaguchi, K. Toyooka, M. Wakazaki, M. Sato, M. Kubo, Y. Nakano, R. Sano, Y. Hiwatashi, T. Murata, T. Kurata, A. Yoneda, K. Kato, M. Hasebe, T. Demura,
"Contribution of NAC Transcription Factors to Plant Adaptation to Land".

Taku Demura
Team Leader
Cellulose Production Research Team, Biomass Engineering Program Cooperation Division