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Plant Physiol. 2009 Feb;149(2):949-60. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.126938. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

The Arabidopsis abscisic acid catabolic gene CYP707A2 plays a key role in nitrate control of seed dormancy.

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Unité de la Nutrition Azotée des Plantes, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRA, 78026 Versailles cedex, France.


Nitrate releases seed dormancy in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Columbia accession seeds in part by reducing abscisic acid (ABA) levels. Nitrate led to lower levels of ABA in imbibed seeds when included in the germination medium (exogenous nitrate). Nitrate also reduced ABA levels in dry seeds when provided to the mother plant during seed development (endogenous nitrate). Transcript profiling of imbibed seeds treated with or without nitrate revealed that exogenous nitrate led to a higher expression of nitrate-responsive genes, whereas endogenous nitrate led to a profile similar to that of stratified or after-ripened seeds. Profiling experiments indicated that the expression of the ABA catabolic gene CYP707A2 was regulated by exogenous nitrate. The cyp707a2-1 mutant failed to reduce seed ABA levels in response to both endogenous and exogenous nitrate. In contrast, both endogenous and exogenous nitrate reduced ABA levels of the wild-type and cyp707a1-1 mutant seeds. The CYP707A2 mRNA levels in developing siliques were positively correlated with different nitrate doses applied to the mother plants. This was consistent with a role of the CYP707A2 gene in controlling seed ABA levels in response to endogenous nitrate. The cyp707a2-1 mutant was less sensitive to exogenous nitrate for breaking seed dormancy. Altogether, our data underline the central role of the CYP707A2 gene in the nitrate-mediated control of ABA levels during seed development and germination.

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