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The charophycean green algae provide insights into the early origins of plant cell walls

Lookup NU author(s): Professor William WillatsORCiD


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The Charophycean green algae (CGA) occupy a key phylogenetic position as the evolutionary grade that includes the sister group of the land plants (embryophytes), and so provide potentially valuable experimental systems to study the development and evolution of traits that were necessary for terrestrial colonization. The nature and molecular bases of such traits are still being determined, but one critical adaptation is thought to have been the evolution of a complex cell wall. Very little is known about the identity, origins and diversity of the biosynthetic machinery producing the major suites of structural polymers (i. e., cell wall polysaccharides and associated molecules) that must have been in place for land colonization. However, it has been suggested that the success of the earliest land plants was partly based on the frequency of gene duplication, and possibly whole genome duplications, during times of radical habitat changes. Orders of the CGA span early diverging taxa retaining more ancestral characters, through complex multicellular organisms with morphological characteristics resembling those of land plants. Examination of gene diversity and evolution within the CGA could help reveal when and how the molecular pathways required for synthesis of key structural polymers in land plants arose.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sørensen I, Rose JKC, Doyle JJ, Domozych DS, Willats WG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Plant signaling & behavior

Year: 2012

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-3

Print publication date: 14/02/2012

Online publication date: 01/01/2012

ISSN (print): 1559-2316

ISSN (electronic): 1559-2324

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.4161/psb.7.1.18574


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