Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 433–441 | Cite as

Cloning and expression of an embryo-specific mRNA up-regulated in hydrated dormant seeds

  • Peter J. Goldmark
  • Jeanne Curry
  • Craig F. Morris
  • M. K. Walker-Simmons
Research Articles


Dormant seeds do not germinate when imbibed in water even when conditions are favorable for germination. These hydrated seeds remain viable, but growth-arrested for weeks due to unknown restrictions within the embryo. As a model system for the study of the molecular processes occurring in dormant seeds, we have chosen to examine gene expression in Bromus secalinas, a grass species that produces seeds with high levels of embryonic dormancy. Using differential screening for mRNAs present in hydrated dormant embryos, we have identified a cDNA clone, pBS128, that encodes a mRNA transcript found in the embryos of hydrated seeds of B. secalinus as well as in embryos from mature dry seeds. Striking differences in pBS128 transcript levels appear upon hydration of dormant and nondormant seeds. Upon imbibition pBS128 transcript levels increase over four-fold in dormant seeds, but rapidly decline and disappear in nondormant seeds, which subsequently germinate. The pBS128 transcript appears to be embryo-specific since the transcript is not detectable in either non-stressed or dehydrated seedling tissue. Application of 50μM ABA to nondormant seeds arrests germination and enhances pBS 128 transcript levels. The nucleotide sequence of the nearly full-length pBS128 cDNA shows no homology to other reported genes, and the putative protein sequence does not exhibit the hydrophilic characteristics of the ABA-responsive LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) proteins.

Key words

abscisic acid Bromus dehydration dormancy embryos transcript levels 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Goldmark
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeanne Curry
    • 2
  • Craig F. Morris
    • 2
  • M. K. Walker-Simmons
    • 2
  1. 1.DJR ResearchOkanoganUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology and Disease ResearchWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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