Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Aruna Kilaru

Committee Members

Lev Yampolsky, Cecilia A. McIntosh


Lipids maintain fluidity of the cell membrane during the lifetime of all organisms. The moss Physcomitrium patens, an early land plant, enters reproductive phase under cold (15°C) conditions relative to its gametophytes (22°C). Thus, we hypothesized that their lipid content and composition would be distinct. Using ESI-MS/MS, we showed that the content and acyl composition of 11 lipid classes varied during development. Galactolipids were abundant in gametophytes but insignificant in sporophytes; among phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine was predominant in both phases. Although, sporophytes contained around five-fold less lipids than the gametophyte, their phosphatidic acid content, which accumulates during stress, was 18-fold higher. Furthermore, comparative analyses of lipidomes revealed that the 38C and 40C acyl species are abundant in the moss and mouse, which are mostly absent in vascular plants. The occurrence of long-chain, highly unsaturated lipids perhaps contribute to membrane stability that was necessary for the evolution of early land plants.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.