Clarifying the drought tolerance mechanism by which plants evolved onto land

July 31, 2013

Potential applications for drought-tolerant plant breeding

The Tokyo University of Agriculture, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science and Saitama University have demonstrated for the first time in joint research that the plant hormone abscisic acid first emerged as a switch to control drought resistance when aquatic plants evolved to live on land. Furthermore, the researchers are the first to successfully breed plants in which a key to the abscisic acid switch was suppressed, which allowed the plants to become highly drought tolerant independently of abscisic acid.

These results allowed researchers to clarify the evolutionary process by which aquatic plants became land plants—certain plants appeared that were able to tolerate dry conditions on land by developing a system using abscisic acid and phosphatase to adjust drought tolerance. Researchers believe this system allowed plants to balance growth and survival in water-limited conditions by making efficient reproduction possible. These results are expected to contribute to the development of droughtresistant agricultural crops by controlling phosphatase activity.

Original article
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms3219
K. Komatsu, N. Suzuki, M. Kuwamura, Y. Nishikawa, M. Nakatani, H. Ohtawa, D. Takezawa, M. Seki, M. Tanaka, T. Taji, T. Hayashi, Y. Sakata,
"Group A PP2Cs evolved in land plants as key regulators of intrinsic desiccation tolerance".
Motoaki Seki
Team Leader
Plant Genomic Network Research Team