Understanding Water Adaptation in Riccia fluitans Using Advanced RNA Sequencing

Jim Crocker
16th May, 2024

Understanding Water Adaptation in Riccia fluitans Using Advanced RNA Sequencing

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the University of Warmia and Mazury studied the amphibious liverwort Riccia fluitans to understand its adaptation between land and water environments
  • The study found extensive RNA modifications during the land-water transition, which are crucial for regulating gene expression and adaptation
  • RNA modifications also play a role in plant-microbe interactions, aiding in symbiotic relationships and nutrient exchange
The amphibious liverwort Riccia fluitans presents a remarkable ability to adapt between terrestrial and aquatic environments. Researchers at the University of Warmia and Mazury have employed nanopore direct RNA sequencing to study the intricate epitranscriptomic changes that occur during this land-water transition[1]. This study aims to provide insights into how plants manage such environmental shifts at the molecular level. Riccia fluitans is an ideal model for studying environmental adaptation due to its dual habitat lifestyle. By transitioning between land and water, this liverwort undergoes significant physiological and molecular changes. Understanding these changes can offer broader insights into plant adaptation mechanisms, which are crucial in the context of climate change and environmental stressors. Nanopore direct RNA sequencing is a cutting-edge technique that allows for the sequencing of native RNA molecules without the need for amplification. This method provides a more accurate representation of the RNA present in the cells, including modifications that might be missed by other sequencing techniques[2]. The researchers chose this method to capture the full spectrum of RNA modifications and expressions in Riccia fluitans as it transitions between environments. The study revealed several key findings. One of the most significant is the identification of extensive RNA modifications during the land-water transition. These modifications, known as epitranscriptomic changes, play a crucial role in regulating gene expression and, consequently, in the plant's ability to adapt to different environments. The researchers observed that certain RNA modifications were upregulated or downregulated depending on whether the liverwort was in a terrestrial or aquatic environment. This finding aligns with previous studies on RNA modifications in plants. For instance, the role of m6A RNA modification in plant stress responses has been well-documented[3]. In barley, m6A modifications were found to be highly responsive to environmental changes, suggesting a complex regulatory mechanism that helps plants cope with stress. Similarly, the modifications observed in Riccia fluitans likely serve as a regulatory mechanism to manage the stress of transitioning between land and water. Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of RNA modifications in plant-microbe interactions. Previous research has shown that symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) involves significant transcriptomic changes, including the activation of lipid metabolism[4]. In Riccia fluitans, the researchers found that RNA modifications could be linked to the plant's interactions with microbial communities in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. This suggests that RNA modifications may play a broader role in facilitating symbiotic relationships and nutrient exchange. The use of nanopore direct RNA sequencing in this study also provided a comprehensive view of the transcriptome, including the identification of novel RNA species that are differentially expressed during the land-water transition. This level of detail is crucial for understanding the full scope of molecular changes that occur in response to environmental shifts. The researchers noted that the RNA modifications at the 5' end of transcripts were particularly significant, echoing findings from previous studies that highlighted the importance of these modifications in gene regulation[2]. In conclusion, the study conducted by the University of Warmia and Mazury provides valuable insights into the molecular mechanisms that enable Riccia fluitans to adapt to different environments. By utilizing nanopore direct RNA sequencing, the researchers captured a detailed and accurate picture of the epitranscriptomic changes involved in the land-water transition. These findings not only enhance our understanding of plant adaptation but also underscore the broader significance of RNA modifications in regulating gene expression and facilitating plant-microbe interactions.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Epitranscriptome insights into Riccia fluitans L. (Marchantiophyta) aquatic transition using nanopore direct RNA sequencing

Published 15th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Native RNA or cDNA Sequencing for Transcriptomic Analysis: A Case Study on Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


3) N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification as a metabolic switch between plant cell survival and death in leaf senescence.


4) Lipid exchanges drove the evolution of mutualism during plant terrestrialization.


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