Physcomitrium patens response to elevated CO2 is flexible and determined by an interaction between sugar and nitrogen availability

Boominathan Mohanasundaram, Somnath Koley, Doug K. Allen, Sona Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mosses hold a unique position in plant evolution and are crucial for protecting natural, long-term carbon storage systems such as permafrost and bogs. Due to small stature, mosses grow close to the soil surface and are exposed to high levels of CO2, produced by soil respiration. However, the impact of elevated CO2 (eCO2) levels on mosses remains underexplored. We determined the growth responses of the moss Physcomitrium patens to eCO2 in combination with different nitrogen levels and characterized the underlying physiological and metabolic changes. Three distinct growth characteristics, an early transition to caulonema, the development of longer, highly pigmented rhizoids, and increased biomass, define the phenotypic responses of P. patens to eCO2. Elevated CO2 impacts growth by enhancing the level of a sugar signaling metabolite, T6P. The quantity and form of nitrogen source influences these metabolic and phenotypic changes. Under eCO2, P. patens exhibits a diffused growth pattern in the presence of nitrate, but ammonium supplementation results in dense growth with tall gametophores, demonstrating high phenotypic plasticity under different environments. These results provide a framework for comparing the eCO2 responses of P. patens with other plant groups and provide crucial insights into moss growth that may benefit climate change models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1235
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • ammonium toxicity
  • caulonema transition
  • elevated CO
  • nitrogen assimilation
  • Physcomitrium patens
  • sugar signaling
  • trehalose-6-phosphate


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