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Tradescantia‐based models: a powerful looking glass for investigation of photoacclimation and photoadaptation in plants

Ptushenko, Oxana S., Ptushenko, Vasily V.
Physiologia plantarum 2019 v.166 no.1 pp. 120-133
Tradescantia fluminensis, acclimation, deserts, evolution, light intensity, models, niches, photosynthesis, plant adaptation, shade tolerance, stress tolerance, tropical rain forests, understory
Here, we summarize diverse evidence from species that belong to the genus Tradescantia, which we propose as handy and versatile models for studies of the ecology of photosynthesis and the mechanisms of photoacclimation in higher plants. A valuable feature of this genus is the amazingly broad range of ecological niches occupied by its species: from shady understory of tropical rainforest to deserts and semideserts. The former habitats demand shade tolerance (e.g. that featured by Tradescantia fluminensis), whereas the latter requires succulence and/or high light stress tolerance (evident in e.g. Tradescantia navicularis). At the same time, the acclimative traits of Tradescantia species seem quite moderate at first glance. Certainly, their basic principles of acclimation seem to differ in some aspects from the ones typical for most of other higher plants. This review presents a systematic analysis of irradiance responses of Tradescantia species studied on different timescales. The specifics of Tradescantia responses to irradiance make the plants of this genus a ‘multitool’ for studies in this field. Similarity of irradiance acclimation patterns is a characteristic feature in the ecologically contrasting Tradescantia species, which may inspire further insights into physiology and evolution of plants.