Role of reactive oxygen species in the regulation of Arabidopsis seed dormancy

Juliette Leymarie, Giedré Vitkauskaité, Hai Ha Hoang, Emmanuel Gendreau, Virginie Chazoule, Patrice Meimoun, Françoise Corbineau, Hayat El-Maarouf-Bouteau, Christophe Bailly
Plant & Cell Physiology 2012, 53 (1): 96-106
Freshly harvested seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana, Columbia (Col) accession were dormant when imbibed at 25°C in the dark. Their dormancy was alleviated by continuous light during imbibition or by 5 weeks of storage at 20°C (after-ripening). We investigated the possible role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the regulation of Col seed dormancy. After 24 h of imbibition at 25°C, non-dormant seeds produced more ROS than dormant seeds, and their catalase activity was lower. In situ ROS localization revealed that germination was associated with an accumulation of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in the radicle. ROS production was temporally and spatially regulated: ROS were first localized within the cytoplasm upon imbibition of non-dormant seeds, then in the nucleus and finally in the cell wall, which suggests that ROS play different roles during germination. Imbibition of dormant and non-dormant seeds in the presence of ROS scavengers or donors, which inhibited or stimulated germination, respectively, confirmed the role of ROS in germination. Freshly harvested seeds of the mutants defective in catalase (cat2-1) and vitamin E (vte1-1) did not display dormancy; however, seeds of the NADPH oxidase mutants (rbohD) were deeply dormant. Expression of a set of genes related to dormancy upon imbibition in the cat2-1 and vet1-1 seeds revealed that their non-dormant phenotype was probably not related to ABA or gibberellin metabolism, but suggested that ROS could trigger germination through gibberellin signaling activation.

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