The beneficial effect of small toxic molecules on dormancy alleviation and germination of apple embryos is due to NO formation

Agnieszka Gniazdowska, Urszula Krasuska, Karolina Debska, Paulina Andryka, Renata Bogatek
Planta 2010, 232 (4): 999-1005
Deep dormancy of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) seeds is terminated by a 3-month-long cold stratification. It is expressed by rapid germination of seeds and undisturbed growth of seedlings. However, stimulation of germination of isolated apple embryos is also observed after applying inhibitors of cytochrome c oxidase: nitric oxide (NO) or hydrogen cyanide (HCN) during the first 3-6 h of imbibition of dormant embryos. The aim of this work was to compare the effect of yet another toxic gaseous molecule carbon monoxide (CO) with the effects of HCN and NO on germination of apple embryos and growth and development of young seedlings. We demonstrated that stimulation of germination after short-term pre-treatment with HCN, NO or CO was accompanied by enhanced NO emission from the embryo axes during their elongation. Moreover, similarly high NO production from non-dormant embryos, after cold stratification, was detected. Therefore, we propose that NO may act as signaling molecule in apple embryo dormancy break.

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