Seed dormancy ensures plant survival but many mechanisms remain unclear. A high-throughput RNA-seq analysis investigated the mechanisms involved in the establishment of dormancy in dimorphic seeds of Xanthium strumarium (L.) developing in one single burr. Results showed that DOG1, the main dormancy gene in Arabidopsis thaliana L., was over-represented in the dormant seed leading to the formation of two seeds with different cell wall properties. Less expression of DME/EMB1649, UBP26, EMF2, MOM, SNL2, and AGO4 in the non-dormant seed was observed, which function in the chromatin remodelling of dormancy-associated genes through DNA methylation. However, higher levels of ATXR7/SDG25, ELF6, and JMJ16/PKDM7D in the non-dormant seed that act at the level of histone demethylation and activate germination were found. Dramatically lower expression in the splicing factors SUA, PWI, and FY in non-dormant seed may indicate that variation in RNA splicing for ABA sensitivity and transcriptional elongation control of DOG1 is of importance for inducing seed dormancy. Seed size and germination may be influenced by respiratory factors, and alterations in ABA content and auxin distribution and responses. TOR (a serine/threonine-protein kinase) is likely at the centre of a regulatory hub controlling seed metabolism, maturation, and germination. Over-representation of the respiration-associated genes (ACO3, PEPC3, and D2HGDH) was detected in non-dormant seed, suggesting differential energy supplies in the two seeds. Degradation of ABA biosynthesis and/or proper auxin signalling in the large seed may control germinability, and suppression of endoreduplication in the small seed may be a mechanism for cell differentiation and cell size determination.
- Xanthium strumarium