Submitted to: International Botanical Congress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Bryophytes are ideal models for the study of abiotic stress tolerance. The desiccation tolerant moss Tortula ruralis has become a productive tool in the study of how plants respond to and survive severe water stress. T. ruralis utilizes constitutive cellular protection and a rehydration induced cellular repair mechanism to survive desiccation. The repair process involves the synthesis of novel proteins, the rehydrins, within minutes of rehydration. The selective synthesis of rehydrins is the result of a change in translational controls which, if drying is slow, involves the formation of rehydrin mRNPs. Our current work entails strategies to elucidate the function of individual rehydrins including the establishment of a gene replacement protocol for T. ruralis. The rehydrin genes will be important in our search for improved drought tolerance in crops.