The Long-Standing Paradox of Seed Dormancy Unfolded?

Trends Plant Sci. 2019 Nov;24(11):989-998. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.06.011. Epub 2019 Jul 18.


There has been a long-standing question in seed research, why cyanide, a respiration inhibitor, breaks seed dormancy. While the alternative respiratory pathway and reactive oxygen species have been suggested to be part of the mechanism, the cell biological and mechanistic significance of this paradox remains unclear. The outcomes of recent research on mitochondrial RNA processing for the subunits of the electron transport chain complexes seem to offer a logical explanation. This opinion article attempts to integrate the accumulating evidence of mitochondrial involvement in ABA signaling with the frontier of seed research on DELAY OF GERMINATION1, a master regulator of dormancy, to present a coherent model for ABA signaling in seeds, which could also address the old paradox in seed research.

Keywords: ABA sensitivity; DOG1; cytochrome c; dormancy; heme; mitochondria; redox; retrograde signal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Arabidopsis*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Germination
  • Plant Dormancy
  • Seeds


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Abscisic Acid