Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 144–154 | Cite as

Alteration of the embryo transcriptome of hexaploid winter wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Mercia) during maturation and germination

  • Ian D. WilsonEmail author
  • Gary L. A. Barker
  • Chungui Lu
  • Jane A. Coghill
  • Richard W. Beswick
  • John R. Lenton
  • Keith J. Edwards
Original Paper


Grain dormancy and germination are areas of biology that are of considerable interest to the cereal community. We have used a 9,155-feature wheat unigene cDNA microarray resource to investigate changes in the wheat embryo transcriptome during late grain development and maturation and during the first 48 h of postimbibition germination. In the embryo 392 mRNAs accumulated by twofold or greater over the time course from 21 days postanthesis (dpa) to 40 dpa and on through 1 and 2 days postgermination. These included mRNAs encoding proteins involved in amino acid biosynthesis and metabolism, cell division and subsequent cell development, signal transduction, lipid metabolism, energy production, protein turnover, respiration, initiation of transcription, initiation of translation and ribosomal composition. A number of mRNAs encoding proteins of unknown function also accumulated over the time course. Conversely 163 sequences showed decreases of twofold or greater over the time course. A small number of mRNAs also showed rapid accumulation specifically during the first 48 h of germination. We also examined alterations in the accumulation of transcripts encoding proteins involved in abscisic acid signalling. Thus, we describe changes in the level of transcripts encoding wheat Viviparous 1 (Vp1) and other interacting proteins. Interestingly, the transcript encoding wheat Viviparous-interacting protein 1 showed a pattern of accumulation that correlates inversely with germination. Our data suggests that the majority of the transcripts required for germination accumulate in the embryo prior to germination and we discuss the implications of these findings with regard to manipulation of germination in wheat.


Triticum aestivum Microarray Dormancy Germination Embryo 



This work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK (BBSRC) under the cereals “Investigating Gene Function” initiative (ref. IGF12403). Chungui Lu was funded by a BBSRC Agri-Food response mode grant to investigate the effect of nitrogen supply on the wheat endosperm transcriptome (ref. D16781). Our thanks to Bob Hughes, Richard Parkinson and Derek Edgell of the now closed Long Ashton Research Station, Long Ashton, Bristol, UK, for their invaluable assistance with controlled environment growth of wheat plants. We are also grateful to Drs Steve White and Mark Bond of the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK, for their assistance with real-time RT-PCR experiments.

Supplementary material

Table 1 Microarray-hybridising, hexaploid wheat sequences that accumulated (ANOVA P0.05) during embryo maturation and germination

s10142_2005_137_ESM_supp_t1.pdf (229 kb)
(PDF 229 KB)

Table 2 Microarray-hybridising, hexaploid wheat sequences that declined (ANOVA P0.05) during embryo maturation and germination

s10142_2005_137_ESM_supp_t2.pdf (106 kb)
(PDF 106 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian D. Wilson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gary L. A. Barker
    • 1
  • Chungui Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jane A. Coghill
    • 1
  • Richard W. Beswick
    • 1
    • 3
  • John R. Lenton
    • 1
  • Keith J. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Rothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  3. 3.Department of HaematologyHammersmith HospitalLondonUK

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