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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082455

The Dead Can Nurture: Novel Insights into the Function of Dead Organs Enclosing Embryos

French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben Gurion 84990, Israel
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Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 19 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seed Development, Dormancy and Germination)
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Abstract

Plants have evolved a variety of dispersal units whereby the embryo is enclosed by various dead protective layers derived from maternal organs of the reproductive system including seed coats (integuments), pericarps (ovary wall, e.g., indehiscent dry fruits) as well as floral bracts (e.g., glumes) in grasses. Commonly, dead organs enclosing embryos (DOEEs) are assumed to provide a physical shield for embryo protection and means for dispersal in the ecosystem. In this review article, we highlight recent studies showing that DOEEs of various species across families also have the capability for long-term storage of various substances including active proteins (hydrolases and ROS detoxifying enzymes), nutrients and metabolites that have the potential to support the embryo during storage in the soil and assist in germination and seedling establishment. We discuss a possible role for DOEEs as natural coatings capable of “engineering” the seed microenvironment for the benefit of the embryo, the seedling and the growing plant. View Full-Text
Keywords: dead organs enclosing embryos (DOEE); long-term storage; seed coats; pericarps; glumes; lemmas; paleas; hydrolases; ROS detoxification; cell wall modification; seed microenvironment; seed longevity; seed germination; seedling vigor dead organs enclosing embryos (DOEE); long-term storage; seed coats; pericarps; glumes; lemmas; paleas; hydrolases; ROS detoxification; cell wall modification; seed microenvironment; seed longevity; seed germination; seedling vigor
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Raviv, B.; Godwin, J.; Granot, G.; Grafi, G. The Dead Can Nurture: Novel Insights into the Function of Dead Organs Enclosing Embryos. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2455.

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