Special Issue "Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Luis Oñate-Sánchez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (UPM-INIA), Campus Montegancedo. Autopista M40, km 38. Pozuelo de Alarcón. 28223 Madrid, Spain
Interests: seed germination; seed vigor; gibberellin-signaling; integration of growth and stress; transcriptional regulation; protein–protein interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The ability of a seed to germinate and establish a plant at the right time of year is of vital importance from an ecological and economical point of view. Due to the fragility of these early growth stages, their swiftness and robustness will shape the plant’s later developmental stages. In the last few years, a wealth of information has been obtained by studying germination from different angles. It is clear now that germination and early growth are intimately linked to previous events occurring in the mother plant and influenced by the environment. One way to store the information provided by the interaction between genotype and environment is to modify the chromatin landscape, which indeed has been proven to have an impact on specific genes and germination traits. The discovery of new players and deeper insights about known master regulators have also contributed to a better understanding of germination. New information coming from studies on hormone transport, signaling, and biophysical and mechanical tissue properties are shedding new light on the relevance of tissue specific regulation and their interplay.

The novel insights briefly summarized above represent some of the different approaches contributing to drawing a more detailed picture of the biology of the seed. Unsurprisingly, the new discoveries have raised more questions that will need to be answered in the near future. The aim of this Special Issue is to publish papers providing new findings or views about the genetics and biology of seed germination in model and crop species. Additional research on this important developmental stage in the plant life cycle will help to deepen our knowledge on important regulatory networks and discover new associations that will surely aid to improve crop yield.

Dr. Luis Oñate-Sánchez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • seed germination and vigor
  • chromatin and epigenetics
  • transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation-omics
  • hormone metabolism and transport
  • tissue/cell specific signaling
  • control by environment and/or parental growth
  • species-specific regulation
  • growth mechanics and imaging

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Arabidopsis in the Wild—The Effect of Seasons on Seed Performance
Plants 2020, 9(5), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050576 - 01 May 2020
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
Climate changes play a central role in the adaptive life histories of organisms all over the world. In higher plants, these changes may impact seed performance, both during seed development and after dispersal. To examine the plasticity of seed performance as a response [...] Read more.
Climate changes play a central role in the adaptive life histories of organisms all over the world. In higher plants, these changes may impact seed performance, both during seed development and after dispersal. To examine the plasticity of seed performance as a response to environmental fluctuations, eight genotypes known to be affected in seed dormancy and longevity were grown in the field in all seasons of two years. Soil and air temperature, day length, precipitation, and sun hours per day were monitored. We show that seed performance depends on the season. Seeds produced by plants grown in the summer, when the days began to shorten and the temperature started to decrease, were smaller with deeper dormancy and lower seed longevity compared to the other seasons when seeds were matured at higher temperature over longer days. The performance of seeds developed in the different seasons was compared to seeds produced in controlled conditions. This revealed that plants grown in a controlled environment produced larger seeds with lower dormancy than those grown in the field. All together the results show that the effect of the environment largely overrules the genetic effects, and especially, differences in seed dormancy caused by the different seasons were larger than the differences between the genotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Article
Genetic and Epigenetic Stability in Rye Seeds under Different Storage Conditions: Ageing and Oxygen Effect
Plants 2020, 9(3), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030393 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
Seed ageing is a complex process and can be described as the loss of viability or quality with time. It is important to elucidate whether genetic and epigenetic stability is altered in stored seeds and in seedlings produced from them. Non-stored and stored [...] Read more.
Seed ageing is a complex process and can be described as the loss of viability or quality with time. It is important to elucidate whether genetic and epigenetic stability is altered in stored seeds and in seedlings produced from them. Non-stored and stored rye seeds at different stages of ageing were compared, as well as the seedlings obtained from them. Seeds were stored at 35 °C and 15% water content, under vacuum or air atmosphere. DNA of seeds and seedlings was isolated at three stages of the deterioration curve: P75 (13 days), P20 (29 days), and P0 (36 days). Genetic stability was assessed by RAPD technique, and epigenetic changes by MSAP markers. While seeds showed genetic stability after storage, the similarity of seedlings obtained from seeds stored for 29 days was lower (95%) when compared to seedlings from control seeds. Epigenetic changes were between 15% and 30% (both de novo methylation and demethylation) in the stored seeds compared to control seeds, with no differences between 13 and 29 days of storage with either air or vacuum atmospheres. In seedlings, epigenetic changes significantly increased with storage time. In conclusion, ageing increased epigenetic instability in both seeds and seedlings, when compared to controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Article
A Correlative Study of Sunflower Seed Vigor Components as Related to Genetic Background
Plants 2020, 9(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030386 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
Seed vigor is an important trait that determines seed performance in the field, which corresponds to seed germination rate and seedling establishment. Previous works brought helpful equations to calculate several parameters allowing vigor characterization. In this work we used base water potential (Ψb), [...] Read more.
Seed vigor is an important trait that determines seed performance in the field, which corresponds to seed germination rate and seedling establishment. Previous works brought helpful equations to calculate several parameters allowing vigor characterization. In this work we used base water potential (Ψb), base temperature (Tb) and seed lot (Ki) constants to characterize the vigor of 44 sunflower seed lots. Contrasting responses to water or temperature stress and storage potential were recorded within this population, the most interesting being the opposite responses between Ψb and Ki. The genotypes that were resistant to water stress presented low ability for storage and vice versa. Furthermore, Ψb and Ki presented narrow ranges while Tb showed important variability within the 44 genotypes. The analysis of the whole dataset showed that these constants are not correlated to each other or to the seed size, suggesting that genetic background is the most important determining factor in seed performance. Consequently, vigor characterization of genotypes is needed in the crop selection process in order to optimize agricultural productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Article
Heat Stress Factors Expressed during Seed Maturation Differentially Regulate Seed Longevity and Seedling Greening
Plants 2020, 9(3), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030335 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Heat Stress Factor A9 (A9), a seed-specific transcription factor contributing to seed longevity, also enhances phytochrome-dependent seedling greening. The RNA-seq analyses of imbibed-seed transcripts here reported indicated potential additional effects of A9 on cryptochrome-mediated blue-light responses. These analyses also suggested that in contrast [...] Read more.
Heat Stress Factor A9 (A9), a seed-specific transcription factor contributing to seed longevity, also enhances phytochrome-dependent seedling greening. The RNA-seq analyses of imbibed-seed transcripts here reported indicated potential additional effects of A9 on cryptochrome-mediated blue-light responses. These analyses also suggested that in contrast to the A9 effects on longevity, which require coactivation by additional factors as A4a, A9 alone might suffice for the enhancement of photomorphogenesis at the seedling stage. We found that upon its seed-specific overexpression, A9 indeed enhanced the expected blue-light responses. Comparative loss-of-function analyses of longevity and greening, performed by similar expression of dominant-negative and inactive forms of A9, not only confirmed the additional greening effects of A9, but also were consistent with A9 not requiring A4a (or additional factors) for the greening effects. Our results strongly indicate that A9 would differentially regulate seed longevity and photomorphogenesis at the seedling stage, A9 alone sufficing for both the phytochrome- and cryptochrome-dependent greening enhancement effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Review

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Review
An Updated Overview on the Regulation of Seed Germination
Plants 2020, 9(6), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060703 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3147
Abstract
The ability of a seed to germinate and establish a plant at the right time of year is of vital importance from an ecological and economical point of view. Due to the fragility of these early growth stages, their swiftness and robustness will [...] Read more.
The ability of a seed to germinate and establish a plant at the right time of year is of vital importance from an ecological and economical point of view. Due to the fragility of these early growth stages, their swiftness and robustness will impact later developmental stages and crop yield. These traits are modulated by a continuous interaction between the genetic makeup of the plant and the environment from seed production to germination stages. In this review, we have summarized the established knowledge on the control of seed germination from a molecular and a genetic perspective. This serves as a “backbone” to integrate the latest developments in the field. These include the link of germination to events occurring in the mother plant influenced by the environment, the impact of changes in the chromatin landscape, the discovery of new players and new insights related to well-known master regulators. Finally, results from recent studies on hormone transport, signaling, and biophysical and mechanical tissue properties are underscoring the relevance of tissue-specific regulation and the interplay of signals in this crucial developmental process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Review
Lost in Translation: Physiological Roles of Stored mRNAs in Seed Germination
Plants 2020, 9(3), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030347 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2817
Abstract
Seeds characteristics such as germination ability, dormancy, and storability/longevity are important traits in agriculture, and various genes have been identified that are involved in its regulation at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. A particularity of mature dry seeds is a special mechanism that [...] Read more.
Seeds characteristics such as germination ability, dormancy, and storability/longevity are important traits in agriculture, and various genes have been identified that are involved in its regulation at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. A particularity of mature dry seeds is a special mechanism that allows them to accumulate more than 10,000 mRNAs during seed maturation and use them as templates to synthesize proteins during germination. Some of these stored mRNAs are also referred to as long-lived mRNAs because they remain translatable even after seeds have been exposed to long-term stressful conditions. Mature seeds can germinate even in the presence of transcriptional inhibitors, and this ability is acquired in mid-seed development. The type of mRNA that accumulates in seeds is affected by the plant hormone abscisic acid and environmental factors, and most of them accumulate in seeds in the form of monosomes. Release of seed dormancy during after-ripening involves the selective oxidation of stored mRNAs and this prevents translation of proteins that function in the suppression of germination after imbibition. Non-selective oxidation and degradation of stored mRNAs occurs during long-term storage of seeds so that the quality of stored RNAs is linked to the degree of seed deterioration. After seed imbibition, a population of stored mRNAs are selectively loaded into polysomes and the mRNAs, involved in processes such as redox, glycolysis, and protein synthesis, are actively translated for germination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Review
The DOF Transcription Factors in Seed and Seedling Development
Plants 2020, 9(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020218 - 08 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1899
Abstract
The DOF (DNA binding with one finger) family of plant-specific transcription factors (TF) was first identified in maize in 1995. Since then, DOF proteins have been shown to be present in the whole plant kingdom, including the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The [...] Read more.
The DOF (DNA binding with one finger) family of plant-specific transcription factors (TF) was first identified in maize in 1995. Since then, DOF proteins have been shown to be present in the whole plant kingdom, including the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The DOF TF family is characterised by a highly conserved DNA binding domain (DOF domain), consisting of a CX2C-X21-CX2C motif, which is able to form a zinc finger structure. Early in the study of DOF proteins, their relevance for seed biology became clear. Indeed, the PROLAMIN BINDING FACTOR (PBF), one of the first DOF proteins characterised, controls the endosperm-specific expression of the zein genes in maize. Subsequently, several DOF proteins from both monocots and dicots have been shown to be primarily involved in seed development, dormancy and germination, as well as in seedling development and other light-mediated processes. In the last two decades, the molecular network underlying these processes have been outlined, and the main molecular players and their interactions have been identified. In this review, we will focus on the DOF TFs involved in these molecular networks, and on their interaction with other proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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Review
Reactive Oxygen Species as Potential Drivers of the Seed Aging Process
Plants 2019, 8(6), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8060174 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 2462
Abstract
Seeds are an important life cycle stage because they guarantee plant survival in unfavorable environmental conditions and the transfer of genetic information from parents to offspring. However, similar to every organ, seeds undergo aging processes that limit their viability and ultimately cause the [...] Read more.
Seeds are an important life cycle stage because they guarantee plant survival in unfavorable environmental conditions and the transfer of genetic information from parents to offspring. However, similar to every organ, seeds undergo aging processes that limit their viability and ultimately cause the loss of their basic property, i.e., the ability to germinate. Seed aging is a vital economic and scientific issue that is related to seed resistance to an array of factors, both internal (genetic, structural, and physiological) and external (mainly storage conditions: temperature and humidity). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are believed to initiate seed aging via the degradation of cell membrane phospholipids and the structural and functional deterioration of proteins and genetic material. Researchers investigating seed aging claim that the effective protection of genetic resources requires an understanding of the reasons for senescence of seeds with variable sensitivity to drying and long-term storage. Genomic integrity considerably affects seed viability and vigor. The deterioration of nucleic acids inhibits transcription and translation and exacerbates reductions in the activity of antioxidant system enzymes. All of these factors significantly limit seed viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Seed Germination and Growth)
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