Basic Techniques to Assess Seed Germination Responses to Abiotic Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Urszula Piskurewicz
  • Luis Lopez-MolinaEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1398)


The model organism Arabidopsis thaliana has been extensively used to unmask the molecular genetic signaling pathways controlling seed germination in plants. In Arabidopsis, the normal seed to seedling developmental transition involves testa rupture soon followed by endosperm rupture, radicle elongation, root hair formation, cotyledon expansion, and greening. Here we detail a number of basic procedures to assess Arabidopsis seed germination in response to different light (red and far-red pulses), temperature (seed thermoinhibition), and water potential (osmotic stress) environmental conditions. We also discuss the role of the endosperm and how its germination-repressive activity can be monitored genetically by means of a seed coat bedding assay. Finally we detail how to evaluate germination responses to changes in gibberellin (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA) levels by manipulating pharmacologically the germination medium.

Key words

Seed germination Testa rupture Endosperm rupture Seed coat bedding assay Osmotic stress Thermoinhibition Gibberellins Abscisic acid 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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