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Plant Physiol. 2008 Jun;147(2):886-96. doi: 10.1104/pp.107.115469. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Regulation of dormancy in barley by blue light and after-ripening: effects on abscisic acid and gibberellin metabolism.

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Plant Industry, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.


White light strongly promotes dormancy in freshly harvested cereal grains, whereas dark and after-ripening have the opposite effect. We have analyzed the interaction of light and after-ripening on abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin (GA) metabolism genes and dormancy in barley (Hordeum vulgare 'Betzes'). Analysis of gene expression in imbibed barley grains shows that different ABA metabolism genes are targeted by white light and after-ripening. Of the genes examined, white light promotes the expression of an ABA biosynthetic gene, HvNCED1, in embryos. Consistent with this result, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays show that dormant grains imbibed under white light have higher embryo ABA content than grains imbibed in the dark. After-ripening has no effect on expression of ABA biosynthesis genes, but promotes expression of an ABA catabolism gene (HvABA8'OH1), a GA biosynthetic gene (HvGA3ox2), and a GA catabolic gene (HvGA2ox3) following imbibition. Blue light mimics the effects of white light on germination, ABA levels, and expression of GA and ABA metabolism genes. Red and far-red light have no effect on germination, ABA levels, or HvNCED1. RNA interference experiments in transgenic barley plants support a role of HvABA8'OH1 in dormancy release. Reduced HvABA8'OH1 expression in transgenic HvABA8'OH1 RNAi grains results in higher levels of ABA and increased dormancy compared to nontransgenic grains.

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