, Volume 219, Issue 3, pp 479–488 | Cite as

Changes in endogenous abscisic acid levels during dormancy release and maintenance of mature seeds: studies with the Cape Verde Islands ecotype, the dormant model of Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Sonia Ali-Rachedi
  • Denise Bouinot
  • Marie-Hélène Wagner
  • Magda Bonnet
  • Bruno Sotta
  • Philippe Grappin
  • Marc Jullien
Original Article


Mature seeds of the Cape Verde Islands (Cvi) ecotype of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. show a very marked dormancy. Dormant (D) seeds completely fail to germinate in conditions that are favourable for germination whereas non-dormant (ND) seeds germinate easily. Cvi seed dormancy is alleviated by after-ripening, stratification, and also by nitrate or fluridone treatment. Addition of gibberellins to D seeds does not suppress dormancy efficiently, suggesting that gibberellins are not directly involved in the breaking of dormancy. Dormancy expression of Cvi seeds is strongly dependent on temperature: D seeds do not germinate at warm temperatures (20–27°C) but do so easily at a low temperature (13°C) or when a fluridone treatment is given to D seeds sown at high temperature. To investigate the role of abscisic acid (ABA) in dormancy release and maintenance, we measured the ABA content in both ND and D seeds imbibed using various dormancy-breaking conditions. It was found that dry D seeds contained higher amounts of ABA than dry ND after-ripened seeds. During early imbibition in standard conditions, there was a decrease in ABA content in both seeds, the rate of which was slower in D seeds. Three days after sowing, the ABA content in D seeds increased specifically and then remained at a high level. When imbibed with fluridone, nitrate or stratified, the ABA content of D seeds decreased and reached a level very near to that of ND seeds. In contrast, gibberellic acid (GA3) treatment caused a transient increase in ABA content. When D seeds were sown at low optimal temperature their ABA content also decreased to the level observed in ND seeds. The present study indicates that Cvi D and ND seeds can be easily distinguished by their ability to synthesize ABA following imbibition. Treatments used here to break dormancy reduced the ABA level in imbibed D seeds to the level observed in ND seeds, with the exception of GA3 treatment, which was active in promoting germination only when ABA synthesis was inhibited.


Abscisic acid Arabidopsis Dormancy Gibberellin Nitrate Temperature 



Abscisic acid


Cape Verde Islands






Gibberellic acid


Non dormant


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Ali-Rachedi
    • 1
  • Denise Bouinot
    • 1
  • Marie-Hélène Wagner
    • 3
  • Magda Bonnet
    • 4
  • Bruno Sotta
    • 4
  • Philippe Grappin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc Jullien
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.UER de Physiologie Végétale, INA-PGUMR INRA-INAPG Biologie des SemencesParis Cedex 05France
  2. 2.UMR INRA-INAPG Biologie des SemencesVersailles CedexFrance
  3. 3.GEVES-SNESBeaucouzé CedexFrance
  4. 4.UMR de Physiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire des Plantes, Laboratoire de Physiologie du Développement des PlantesUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie (PVI)Paris Cedex 05France

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