Int. J. Dev. Biol. 57: 553 - 564 (2013)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.130189wf
© UPV/EHU Press

The moss Physcomitrella patens: methods and tools from cultivation to targeted analysis of gene function

Christoph Strotbek, Stefan Krinninger and Wolfgang Frank*

Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU), Faculty of Biology, Department Biology I,Plant Molecular Cell Biology, LMU Biocenter, Germany

ABSTRACT To comprehensively understand the major processes in plant biology, it is necessary to study a diverse set of species that represent the complexity of plants. This research will help to comprehend common conserved mechanisms and principles, as well as to elucidate those mechanisms that are specific to a particular plant clade. Thereby, we will gain knowledge about the invention and loss of mechanisms and their biological impact causing the distinct specifications throughout the plant kingdom. Since the establishment of transgenic plants, these studies concentrate on the elucidation of gene functions applying an increasing repertoire of molecular techniques. In the last two decades, the moss Physcomitrella patens joined the estab-lished set of plant models based on its evolutionary position bridging unicellular algae and vascular plants and a number of specific features alleviating gene function analysis. Here, we want to provide an overview of the specific features of P. patens making it an interesting model for many research fields in plant biology, to present the major achievements in P. patens genetic engineering, and to introduce common techniques to scientists who intend to use P. patens as a model in their research activities.

Keywords:

Physcomitrella patens, genetic engineering, gene function analysis, reverse genetics, homologous recombination

*Corresponding author e-mail: wolfgang.frank@lmu.de