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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 23;6:22073. doi: 10.1038/srep22073.

Karrikins delay soybean seed germination by mediating abscisic acid and gibberellin biogenesis under shaded conditions.

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Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in Southwest China (Ministry of Agriculture), Sichuan Engineering Research Center for Crop Strip Intercropping System, Institute of Ecological Agriculture, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 611130, P. R. China.
Key laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Biology and Medicine (Ministry of Education), Department of Chemistry, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, P. R. China.


Karrikins (KAR) are a class of signal compounds, discovered in wildfire smoke, which affect seed germination. Currently, numerous studies have focused on the model plant Arabidopsis in the KAR research field, rather than on crops. Thus the regulatory mechanisms underlying KAR regulation of crop seed germination are largely unknown. Here, we report that KAR delayed soybean seed germination through enhancing abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis, while impairing gibberellin (GA) biogenesis. Interestingly, KAR only retarded soybean seed germination under shaded conditions, rather than under dark and white light conditions, which differs from in Arabidopsis. Phytohormone quantification showed that KAR enhanced ABA biogenesis while impairing GA biosynthesis during the seed imbibition process, and subsequently, the ratio of active GA4 to ABA was significantly reduced. Further qRT-PCR analysis showed that the transcription pattern of genes involved in ABA and GA metabolic pathways are consistent with the hormonal measurements. Finally, fluridone, an ABA biogenesis inhibitor, remarkably rescued the delayed-germination phenotype of KAR-treatment; and paclobutrazol, a GA biosynthesis inhibitor, inhibited soybean seed germination. Taken together, these evidences suggest that KAR inhibit soybean seed germination by mediating the ratio between GA and ABA biogenesis.

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