The Chara Genome: Secondary Complexity and Implications for Plant Terrestrialization

Tomoaki Nishiyama*, Hidetoshi Sakayama, Jan de Vries, Henrik Buschmann, Denis Saint-Marcoux, Kristian K. Ullrich, Fabian B. Haas, Lisa Vanderstraeten, Dirk Becker, Daniel Lang, Stanislav Vosolsobě, Stephane Rombauts, Per K.I. Wilhelmsson, Philipp Janitza, Ramona Kern, Alexander Heyl, Florian Rümpler, L.I.A.C. Villalobos, John M. Clay, Roman SkokanAtsushi Toyoda, Yutaka Suzuki, Hiroshi Kagoshima, Elio Schijlen, Navindra Tajeshwar, Bruno Catarino, Alexander J. Hetherington, Assia Saltykova, Clemence Bonnot, Holger Breuninger, Aikaterini Symeonidi, Guru V. Radhakrishnan, Filip Van Nieuwerburgh, Dieter Deforce, Caren Chang, Kenneth G. Karol, Rainer Hedrich, Peter Ulvskov, Gernot Glöckner, Charles F. Delwiche, Jan Petrášek, Yves Van de Peer, Jiri Friml, Mary Beilby, Liam Dolan, Yuji Kohara, Sumio Sugano, Asao Fujiyama, Pierre Marc Delaux, Marcel Quint, Günter Theißen, Martin Hagemann, Jesper Harholt, Christophe Dunand, Sabine Zachgo, Jane Langdale, Florian Maumus, Dominique Van Der Straeten, Sven B. Gould, Stefan A. Rensing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

262 Citations (Scopus)


Land plants evolved from charophytic algae, among which Charophyceae
possess the most complex body plans. We present the genome of Chara braunii;
comparison of the genome to those of land plants identified
evolutionary novelties for plant terrestrialization and land plant
heritage genes. C. braunii employs unique xylan synthases for cell wall biosynthesis, a phragmoplast (cell separation) mechanism similar to that of land plants, and many phytohormones. C. braunii plastids
are controlled via land-plant-like retrograde signaling, and
transcriptional regulation is more elaborate than in other algae. The
morphological complexity of this organism may result from expanded gene
families, with three cases of particular note: genes effecting tolerance
to reactive oxygen species (ROS), LysM receptor-like kinases, and transcription factors (TFs). Transcriptomic analysis of sexual reproductive structures reveals intricate control by TFs, activity of the ROS gene network, and the ancestral use of plant-like storage and stress protection proteins in the zygote.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-464.e24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018


  • Chara
  • charophyte
  • phragmoplast
  • Phragmoplastophyta
  • phytohormones
  • plant evolution
  • reactive oxygen species
  • streptophyte
  • transcriptional regulation


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