Characterization of enzymatic antioxidants in the lichen Ramalina lacera and their response to rehydration

Lior Weissman, Jacob Garty, Ayala Hochman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lichens are slow-growing associations of fungi and green algae or cyanobacteria. This symbiotic association forms a common thallus that does not possess roots or a waxy cuticle and depends mainly on atmospheric input of mineral nutrients. The lifestyle of most lichens is composed of alternating periods of desiccation with low metabolic activity and hydration that induces increase in their metabolism. We have previously shown that rehydration of the naturally desiccated lichen Ramalina lacera resulted in a rapid increase in photosynthesis and was accompanied by a burst of intracellular production of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide, as well as a transient decrease in water-soluble antioxidant capacity. We report here on enzymatic antioxidants of R. lacera and their response to rehydration. Native gel electrophoresis of crude extracts of R. lacera stained for superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity revealed four Fe-SOD and four Mn-SOD electromorphs that are synthesized by the alga, a Cu/Zn-SOD and a Mn-SOD that are the product of the fungus, and two catalases synthesized one by the fungus and the other by the algae. In addition, we detected glutathione reductase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activities in crude extracts of R. lacera. Rehydration of the thalli resulted in a decrease in SOD activity of all forms, and a transient decrease in total catalase activity, as well as a decrease in the antioxidant auxiliary enzymes glutathione reductase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6508-6514
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


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