Cross-kingdom signalling regulates spore germination in the moss Physcomitrella patens

Vesty, Eleanor F.; Whitbread, Amy L.; Needs, Sarah; Tanko, Wesal; Jones, Kirsty; Halliday, Nigel; Ghaderiardakani, Fatemeh; Liu, Xiaoguang; Cámara, Miguel and Coates, Juliet C. (2020). Cross-kingdom signalling regulates spore germination in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Scientific Reports, 10(1), article no. 2614.



Plants live in close association with microorganisms that can have beneficial or detrimental effects. The activity of bacteria in association with flowering plants has been extensively analysed. Bacteria use quorum-sensing as a way of monitoring their population density and interacting with their environment. A key group of quorum sensing molecules in Gram-negative bacteria are the N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs), which are known to affect the growth and development of both flowering plants, including crops, and marine algae. Thus, AHLs have potentially important roles in agriculture and aquaculture. Nothing is known about the effects of AHLs on the earliest-diverging land plants, thus the evolution of AHL-mediated bacterial-plant/algal interactions is unknown. In this paper, we show that AHLs can affect spore germination in a representative of the earliest plants on land, the Bryophyte moss Physcomitrella patens. Furthermore, we demonstrate that sporophytes of some wild isolates of Physcomitrella patens are associated with AHL-producing bacteria.

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