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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 415:61-71 (2010)  -  DOI:

PoCHL P expression pattern in Posidonia oceanica is related to critical light conditions

A. Bruno1,*, L. Bruno1,*, A. Chiappetta1, D. Giannino2, M. B. Bitonti1,**

1Department of Ecology, University of Calabria, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
2CNR - Institute of Biology and Agricultural Biotechnology, 00015 Monterotondo Scalo, Rome, Italy
*Both authors contributed equally to this work. **Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In past decades, meadows of Posidonia oceanica (L) Delile have declined extensively in the Mediterranean basin mainly due to disturbances associated with reduced light availability. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of photoacclimation in this seagrass, we selected the CHL P gene as a marker of plant response to light availability because it is involved in the chlorophyll-tocopherols biosynthetic pathways. After characterizing the PoCHL P gene, its expression pattern was analyzed in leaves of plants growing in 2 distinct meadows that were previously categorized as disturbed and preserved. Plants were sampled during different seasons and light availability was monitored in the selected meadows over a 1 yr period. PoCHL P expression was also analyzed in leaves of plants that were exposed to controlled light conditions in aquaria. We found that PoCHL P was expressed differentially with respect to leaf developmental stage and that its expression pattern changed rapidly under light conditions far below the compensation value established for P. oceanica. Hence, the recognition of this gene as a reasonable marker of critical light conditions provides an important step towards the functional characterization of stress-related genes in seagrasses.

KEY WORDS: PoCHL P expression · Posidonia oceanica · Light availability

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Cite this article as: Bruno A, Bruno L, Chiappetta A, Giannino D, Bitonti MB (2010) PoCHL P expression pattern in Posidonia oceanica is related to critical light conditions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 415:61-71.

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