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Tree physiology

Roles of gibberellins and abscisic acid in dormancy and germination of red bayberry (Myrica rubra) seeds.


PMID 18595855

Abstract

Intact seeds from freshly harvested fruits of Myrica rubra (Sieb et Zucc.) were dormant and required 8 weeks of warm stratification followed by 12 weeks of cold stratification for germination. Exogenous application of gibberellic acid (GA(3)) to intact fresh seeds was effective in breaking dormancy, with > 70% of seeds germinating when treated with 5.2 mM GA(3) and incubated at a day/night temperature of 30/20 degrees C for 20 weeks. Removing the hard endocarp or endocarp plus seed coat of fresh seeds promoted germination, and addition of GA(3) to the embryo accelerated germination. The gibberellins GA(1) and GA(4) were more effective than GA(3) in promoting germination of seeds with the endocarp removed. Endogenous contents of GA(1), GA(3), GA(4), GA(7) and GA(20) were quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-selected ion monitoring in the endocarps, seed coats and embryos of fresh seeds treated with 5.2 mM GA(3). The content of GA(3) decreased in the endocarp during incubation, whereas GA(1) contents increased in the endocarp and seed coat. A high GA(1) content was detected in the endocarps and embryos of newly germinated seeds. We speculate that GA(3) was converted to GA(1) during incubation and that GA(1) is involved in seed germination. Endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) contents were measured in fresh seeds and in warm and cold stratified seeds. The ABA content in fresh seeds was distributed in the order endocarp > seed coat > embryo, with the content in the endocarp being about 132-fold higher than in the seed coat and embryo. Total ABA content of seeds subjected to warm or cold stratification, or both, was 8.7- to 14.0-fold lower than that of fresh seeds. Low contents of endogenous GA(1), GA(3), GA(7) and GA(20), but elevated contents of GA(4), were found in the seed coats and endocarps of warm plus cold stratified seeds and in the seed coats and embryos of newly germinated seeds. These observations, coupled with the finding that GA stimulated germination of dormant Myrica seeds, provide evidence that endogenous ABA inhibited release of dormancy and that endogenous gibberellins, especially GA(4) or GA(1), or both, are involved in germination.

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