The role of recovery of mitochondrial structure and function in desiccation tolerance of pea seeds

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  • Wei-Qing Wang, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Hong-Yan Cheng, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Ian Max Møller
  • Song-Quan Song, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Mitochondrial repair is of fundamental importance for seed germination. When mature orthodox seeds are imbibed and germinated, they lose their desiccation tolerance in parallel. To gain a better understanding of this process, we studied the recovery of mitochondrial structure and function in pea (Pisum sativum cv. Jizhuang) seeds with different tolerance to desiccation. Mitochondria were isolated and purified from the embryo axes of control and imbibed–dehydrated pea seeds after (re-)imbibition for various times. Recovery of mitochondrial structure and function occurred both in control and imbibed–dehydrated seed embryo axes, but at different rates and to different maximum levels. The integrity of the outer mitochondrial membrane reached 96% in all treatments. However, only the seeds imbibed for 12 h and then dehydrated recovered the integrity of the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) and State 3 (respiratory state in which substrate and ADP are present) respiration (with NADH and succinate as substrate) to the control level after re-imbibition. With increasing imbibition time, the degree to which each parameter recovered decreased in parallel with the decrease in desiccation tolerance. The tolerance of imbibed seeds to desiccation increased and decreased when imbibed in CaCl2 and methylviologen solution, respectively, and the recovery of the IMM integrity similarly improved and weakened in these two treatments, respectively. Survival of seeds after imbibition–dehydration linearly increased with the increase in ability to recover the integrity of IMM and State 3 respiration, which indicates that recovery of mitochondrial structure and function during germination has an important role in seed desiccation tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Volume144
Issue1
Pages (from-to)20-34
Number of pages15
ISSN0031-9317
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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