Cold‐induced secondary dormancy and its regulatory mechanisms in Beta vulgaris

Hourston J., Steinbrecher T., Chandler J., Perez M., Dietrich K., Turečková V., Tarkowská D., Strnad M., Weltmeier F., Meinhard J., Fischer U., Fiedler-Wiechers K., Ignatz M., Leubner G.
PLANT CELL AND ENVIRONMENT 45: 1315-1332, 2022

Keywords: coat dormancy, cold‐induced dormancy, embryo growth potential, endosperm weakening, germination temperature, secondary dormancy, seed transcriptomes, sugar beet
Abstract: The dynamic behaviour of seeds in soil seed banks depends on their ability to act as sophisticated environmental sensors to adjust their sensitivity thresholds for germination by dormancy mechanisms. Here we show that prolonged incubation of sugar beet fruits at low temperature (chilling at 5°C, generally known to release seed dormancy of many species) can induce secondary nondeep physiological dormancy of an apparently nondormant crop species. The physiological and biophysical mechanisms underpinning this cold‐induced secondary dormancy include the chilling-induced accumulation of abscisic acid in the seeds, a reduction in the embryo growth potential and a block in weakening of the endosperm covering the embryonic root. Transcriptome analysis revealed distinct gene expression patterns in the different temperature regimes and upon secondary dormancy induction and maintenance. The chilling caused reduced expression of cell wall remodelling protein genes required for embryo cell elongation growth and endosperm weakening, as well as increased expression of seed maturation genes, such as for late embryogenesis abundant proteins. A model integrating the hormonal signalling and master regulator expression with the temperature‐control of seed dormancy and maturation programmes is proposed. The revealed mechanisms of the cold‐induced secondary dormancy are important for climate‐smart agriculture and food security.
DOI: 10.1111/pce.14264 IEB authors: Miroslav Strnad, Danuše Tarkowská, Veronika Turečková