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VAPYRIN-like Is Required For Development Of The Moss Physcomitrella Patens

Ursina Rathgeb, Min Chen, Flavien Buron, Nadja Feddermann, Martine Schorderet, Axelle Raisin, Gabrielle-Yasymi Häberli, Sophie Marc-Martin, Jean Keller, Pierre-Marc Delaux, Didier G. Schaefer, Didier Reinhardt

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The VAPYRIN (VPY) gene in Medicago truncatula and Petunia hybrida is required for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis. The moss Physcomitrella patens has a close homologue (VPY-like, VPYL), although it does not form AM. Here, we explore the phylogeny of VPY and VPYL in land plants, and we study the expression and developmental function of VPYL in P. patens. We show that PpVPYL is expressed primarily in the protonema, the early filamentous stage of moss development, and later in rhizoids arising from the leafy gametophores and in adult phyllids. Knockout mutants have specific phenotypes in branching of the protonema and in cell division of the leaves (phyllids) in gametophores. The mutants are responsive to auxin and strigolactone, which are involved in the regulation of protonemal branching, indicating that the mutants are not affected in hormonal signaling. Taken together, these results suggest that PpVPYL exerts negative regulation of protonemal branching and of cell division in phyllids. We discuss VPY and VPYL phylogeny and function in land plants in the context of AM symbiosis in angiosperms, and of development in the moss.