Dormancy removal of apple seeds by cold stratification is associated with fluctuation in H2O2, NO production and protein carbonylation level

Karolina Dębska, Urszula Krasuska, Katarzyna Budnicka, Renata Bogatek, Agnieszka Gniazdowska
Journal of Plant Physiology 2013 March 15, 170 (5): 480-8
Reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen (RNS) species play a signaling role in seed dormancy alleviation and germination. Their action may be described by the oxidative/nitrosative "window/door". ROS accumulation in embryos could lead to oxidative modification of protein through carbonylation. Mature apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) seeds are dormant and do not germinate. Their dormancy may be overcome by 70-90 days long cold stratification. The aim of this work was to analyze the relationship between germinability of embryos isolated from cold (5°C) or warm (25°C) stratified apple seeds and ROS or nitric oxide (NO) production and accumulation of protein carbonyl groups. A biphasic pattern of variation in H2O2 concentration in the embryos during cold stratification was detected. H2O2 content increased markedly after 7 days of seeds imbibition at 5°C. After an additional two months of cold stratification, the H2O2 concentration in embryos reached the maximum. NO production by the embryos was low during entire period of stratification, but increased significantly in germination sensu stricto (i.e. phase II of the germination process). The highest content of protein carbonyl groups was detected after 6 weeks of cold stratification treatment. Fluctuation of H2O2 and protein carbonylation seems to play a pivotal role in seed dormancy alleviation by cold stratification, while NO appears to be necessary for seed germination.

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