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Physiol Mol Biol Plants. 2008 Apr;14(1-2):23-38. doi: 10.1007/s12298-008-0003-5. Epub 2008 Jun 15.

Hormonal regulation in green plant lineage families.

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  • 1Formerly from Department of Biological Sciences, TIFR, Mumbai, India.


The patterns of phytohormones distribution, their native function and possible origin of hormonal regulation across the green plant lineages (chlorophytes, charophytes, bryophytes and tracheophytes) are discussed. The five classical phytohormones - auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins (GA), abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene occur ubiquitously in green plants. They are produced as secondary metabolites by microorganisms. Some of the bacterial species use phytohormones to interact with the plant as a part of their colonization strategy. Phytohormone biosynthetic pathways in plants seem to be of microbial origin and furthermore, the origin of high affinity perception mechanism could have preceded the recruitment of a metabolite as a hormone. The bryophytes represent the earliest land plants which respond to the phytohormones with the exception of gibberellins. The regulation by auxin and ABA may have evolved before the separation of green algal lineage. Auxin enhances rhizoid and caulonemal differentiation while cytokinins enhance shoot bud formation in mosses. Ethylene retards cell division but seems to promote cell elongation. The presence of responses specific to cytokinins and ethylene strongly suggest the origin of their regulation in bryophytes. The hormonal role of GAs could have evolved in some of the ferns where antheridiogens (compounds related to GAs) and GAs themselves regulate the formation of antheridia. During migration of life forms to land, the tolerance to desiccation may have evolved and is now observed in some of the microorganisms, animals and plants. Besides plants, sequences coding for late embryogenesis abundant-like proteins occur in the genomes of other anhydrobiotic species of microorganisms and nematodes. ABA acts as a stress signal and increases rapidly upon desiccation or in response to some of the abiotic stresses in green plants. As the salt stress also increases ABA release in the culture medium of cyanobacterium Trichormus variabilis, the recruitment of ABA in the regulation of stress responses could have been derived from prokaryotes and present at the level of common ancestor of green plants. The overall hormonal action mechanisms in mosses are remarkably similar to that of the higher plants. As plants are thought to be monophyletic in origin, the existence of remarkably similar hormonal mechanisms in the mosses and higher plants, suggests that some of the basic elements of regulation cascade could have also evolved at the level of common ancestor of plants. The networking of various steps in a cascade or the crosstalk between different cascades is variable and reflects the dynamic interaction between a species and its specific environment.


Abscisic acid; Antheridiogens; Auxin; Bryophytes; Cytokinin; Ethylene; Green plant families; Origin of hormonal regulation; miRNA

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