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Reserve mobilization in the Arabidopsis endosperm fuels hypocotyl elongation in the dark, is independent of abscisic acid, and requires PHOSPHOENOLPYRUVATE CARBOXYKINASE1

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JournalThe Plant Cell
DatePublished - Oct 2004
Issue number10
Volume16
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)2705-2718
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Arabidopsis thaliana is used as a model system to study triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation and seed germination in oilseeds. Here, we consider the partitioning of these lipid reserves between embryo and endosperm tissues in the mature seed. The Arabidopsis endosperm accumulates significant quantities of storage lipid, and this is effectively catabolized upon germination. This lipid differs in composition from that in the embryo and has a specific function during germination. Removing the endosperm from the wild-type seeds resulted in a reduction in hypocotyl elongation in the dark, demonstrating a role for endospermic TAG reserves in fueling skotomorphogenesis. Seedlings of two allelic gluconeogenically compromised phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase1 (pck1) mutants show a reduction in hypocotyl length in the dark compared with the wild type, but this is not further reduced by removing the endosperm. The short hypocotyl phenotypes were completely reversed by the provision of an exogenous supply of sucrose. The PCK1 gene is expressed in both embryo and endosperm, and the induction of PCK1:beta-glucuronidase at radicle emergence occurs in a robust, wave-like manner around the embryo suggestive of the action of a diffusing signal. Strikingly, the induction of PCK1 promoter reporter constructs and measurements of lipid breakdown demonstrate that whereas lipid mobilization in the embryo is inhibited by abscisic acid (ABA), no effect is seen in the endosperm. This insensitivity of endosperm tissues is not specific to lipid breakdown because hydrolysis of the seed coat cell walls also proceeded in the presence of concentrations of ABA that effectively inhibit radicle emergence. Both processes still required gibberellins, however. These results suggest a model whereby the breakdown of seed carbon reserves is regulated in a tissue-specific manner and shed new light on phytohormonal regulation of the germination process.

    Research areas

  • TOMATO SEED-GERMINATION, BARLEY ALEURONE CELLS, STORAGE LIPID MOBILIZATION, BETA-OXIDATION, GENE-EXPRESSION, BRASSICA-NAPUS, RADICLE EMERGENCE, (+)-ABSCISIC ACID, GLYOXYLATE CYCLE, ALPHA-AMYLASE

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