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The resurrection genome of Boea hygrometrica: A blueprint for survival of dehydration

Lihong Xiao, Ge Yang, Liechi Zhang, Xinhua Yang, Shuang Zhao, Zhongzhong Ji, Qing Zhou, Min Hu, Yu Wang, Ming Chen, Yu Xu, Haijing Jin, Xuan Xiao, Guipeng Hu, Fang Bao, Yong Hu, Ping Wan, Legong Li, Xin Deng, Tingyun Kuang, Chengbin Xiang, Jian-Kang Zhu, Melvin J. Oliver, Yikun He
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.18 pp. 5833-5837
Gesneriaceae, alternative splicing, desiccation (plant physiology), drying, evolution, genes, leaves, models, phenotype, protein synthesis, ribosomal RNA, roots, transcriptomics
“Drying without dying” is an essential trait in land plant evolution. Unraveling how a unique group of angiosperms, the Resurrection Plants, survive desiccation of their leaves and roots has been hampered by the lack of a foundational genome perspective. Here we report the ∼1,691-Mb sequenced genome of Boea hygrometrica , an important resurrection plant model. The sequence revealed evidence for two historical genome-wide duplication events, a compliment of 49,374 protein-coding genes, 29.15% of which are unique (orphan) to Boea and 20% of which (9,888) significantly respond to desiccation at the transcript level. Expansion of early light-inducible protein (ELIP) and 5S rRNA genes highlights the importance of the protection of the photosynthetic apparatus during drying and the rapid resumption of protein synthesis in the resurrection capability of Boea . Transcriptome analysis reveals extensive alternative splicing of transcripts and a focus on cellular protection strategies. The lack of desiccation tolerance-specific genome organizational features suggests the resurrection phenotype evolved mainly by an alteration in the control of dehydration response genes.