Occurrence of land-plant-specific glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferases is essential for cuticle formation and gametophore development in Physcomitrella patens

Saet Buyl Lee, Sun Ui Yang, Garima Pandey, Myung Shin Kim, Sujin Hyoung, Doil Choi, Jeong Sheop Shin, Mi Chung Suh

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During the evolution of land plants from aquatic to terrestrial environments, their aerial surfaces were surrounded by cuticle composed of cutin and cuticular waxes to protect them from environmental stresses. Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) harboring bifunctional sn-2 acyltransferase/phosphatase activity produces 2-monoacylglycerol, a precursor for cutin synthesis. Here, we report that bifunctional sn-2 GPATs play roles in cuticle biosynthesis and gametophore development of Physcomitrella patens. Land plant-type cuticle was observed in gametophores but not in protonema. The expression of endoplasmic reticulum-localized PpGPATs was significantly upregulated in gametophores compared with protonema. Floral organ fusion and permeable cuticle phenotypes of Arabidopsis gpat6-2 petals were rescued to the wild type (WT) by the expression of PpGPAT2 or PpGPAT4. Disruption of PpGPAT2 and PpGPAT4 caused a significant reduction of total cutin loads, and a prominent decrease in the levels of palmitic and 10,16-dihydroxydecanoic acids, which are major cutin monomers in gametophores. Δppgpat2 mutants displayed growth retardation, delayed gametophore development, increased cuticular permeability, and reduced tolerance to drought, osmotic and salt stresses compared to the WT. Genome-wide analysis of genes encoding acyltransferase or phosphatase domains suggested that the occurrence of sn-2 GPATs with both domains may be a key event in cuticle biogenesis of land plants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019 Jan 1



  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • cuticle
  • cutin
  • evolution
  • glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT)
  • Physcomitrella patens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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