The roles of the anthraquinone parietin in the tolerance to desiccation of the lichen Xanthoria parietina: Physiology and anatomy of the pale and bright-orange thalli

Daminova A.G., Leksin I.Y., Khabibrakhmanova V.R., Gurjanov O.P., Galeeva E.I., Trifonova T.V., Khamatgalimov A.R., Beckett R.P. & Minibayeva F.V.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
25(13): 7067 [11 p.]
Lichens are symbiotic organisms that effectively survive in harsh environments, including arid regions. Maintaining viability with an almost complete loss of water and the rapid restoration of metabolism during rehydration distinguishes lichens from most eukaryotic organisms. The lichen Xanthoria parietina is known to have high stress tolerance, possessing diverse defense mechanisms, including the presence of the bright-orange pigment parietin. While several studies have demonstrated the photoprotective and antioxidant properties of this anthraquinone, the role of parietin in the tolerance of lichens to desiccation is not clear yet. Thalli, which are exposed to solar radiation and become bright orange, may require enhanced desiccation tolerance. Here, we showed differences in the anatomy of naturally pale and bright-orange thalli of X. parietina and visualized parietin crystals on the surface of the upper cortex. Parietin was extracted from bright-orange thalli by acetone rinsing and quantified using HPLC. Although acetone rinsing did not affect PSII activity, thalli without parietin had higher levels of lipid peroxidation and a lower membrane stability index in response to desiccation. Furthermore, highly pigmented thalli possess thicker cell walls and, according to thermogravimetric analysis, higher water-holding capacities than pale thalli. Thus, parietin may play a role in desiccation tolerance by stabilizing mycobiont membranes, providing an antioxidative defense, and changing the morphology of the upper cortex of X. parietina. Keywords: parietin; lichen; desiccation; thallus anatomy; photosynthesis; lipid peroxidation; membrane stability index; extractable substances; thermal decomposition.
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