2School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Pietermaritzburg, Scottsville 3209, South Africa; fax: +27-33-260-5105
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received January 16, 2015; Revision received April 15, 2015
Anthocerotophyta (hornworts) belong to a group of ancient nonvascular plants and originate from a common ancestor with contemporary vascular plants. Hornworts represent a unique model for investigating mechanisms of formation of stress resistance in higher plants due to their high tolerance to the action of adverse environmental factors. In this work, we demonstrate that the thallus of Anthoceros natalensis exhibits high redox activity changing under stress. Dehydration of the thallus is accompanied by the decrease in activities of intracellular peroxidases, DOPA-peroxidases, and tyrosinases, while catalase activity increases. Subsequent rehydration results in the increase in peroxidase and catalase activities. Kinetic features of peroxidases and tyrosinases were characterized as well as the peroxidase isoenzyme composition of different fractions of the hornwort cell wall proteins. It was shown that the hornwort peroxidases are functionally similar to peroxidases of higher vascular plants including their ability to form superoxide anion-radical. The biochemical mechanism was elucidated, supporting the possible participation of peroxidases in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) via substrate–substrate interactions in the hornwort thallus. It has been suggested that the ROS formation by peroxidases is an evolutionarily ancient process that emerged as a protective mechanism for enhancing adaptive responses of higher land plants and their adaptation to changing environmental conditions and successful colonization of various ecological niches.
KEY WORDS: hornwort, peroxidase, superoxide, catalase, tyrosinases, dehydration, rehydration