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Are cell wall traits a component of the succulent syndrome?

Lookup NU author(s): Ali Leverett, Emerita Professor Anne Borland



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2022 Fradera-Soler, Leverett, Mravec, Jørgensen, Borland and Grace.Succulence is an adaptation to low water availability characterised by the presence of water-storage tissues that alleviate water stress under low water availability. The succulent syndrome has evolved convergently in over 80 plant families and is associated with anatomical, physiological and biochemical traits. Despite the alleged importance of cell wall traits in drought responses, their significance in the succulent syndrome has long been overlooked. Here, by analyzing published pressure–volume curves, we show that elastic adjustment, whereby plants change cell wall elasticity, is uniquely beneficial to succulents for avoiding turgor loss. In addition, we used comprehensive microarray polymer profiling (CoMPP) to assess the biochemical composition of cell walls in leaves. Across phylogenetically diverse species, we uncover several differences in cell wall biochemistry between succulent and non-succulent leaves, pointing to the existence of a ‘succulent glycome’. We also highlight the glycomic diversity among succulent plants, with some glycomic features being restricted to certain succulent lineages. In conclusion, we suggest that cell wall biomechanics and biochemistry should be considered among the characteristic traits that make up the succulent syndrome.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fradera-Soler M, Leverett A, Mravec J, Jorgensen B, Borland AM, Grace OM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Plant Science

Year: 2022

Volume: 13

Online publication date: 25/11/2022

Acceptance date: 31/10/2022

Date deposited: 04/01/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1664-462X

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.


DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2022.1043429


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Funder referenceFunder name
Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801199
Newcastle University’s R. B. Cook Scholarship