Conserved and Opposite Transcriptome Patterns during Germination in Hordeum vulgare and Arabidopsis thaliana

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 7;21(19):7404. doi: 10.3390/ijms21197404.


Seed germination is a critical process for completion of the plant life cycle and for global food production. Comparing the germination transcriptomes of barley (Hordeum vulgare) to Arabidopsis thaliana revealed the overall pattern was conserved in terms of functional gene ontology; however, many oppositely responsive orthologous genes were identified. Conserved processes included a set of approximately 6000 genes that peaked early in germination and were enriched in processes associated with RNA metabolism, e.g., pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR)-containing proteins. Comparison of orthologous genes revealed more than 3000 orthogroups containing almost 4000 genes that displayed similar expression patterns including functions associated with mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, carbohydrate and RNA/DNA metabolism, autophagy, protein modifications, and organellar function. Biochemical and proteomic analyses indicated mitochondrial biogenesis occurred early in germination, but detailed analyses revealed the timing involved in mitochondrial biogenesis may vary between species. More than 1800 orthogroups representing 2000 genes displayed opposite patterns in transcript abundance, representing functions of energy (carbohydrate) metabolism, photosynthesis, protein synthesis and degradation, and gene regulation. Differences in expression of basic-leucine zippers (bZIPs) and Apetala 2 (AP2)/ethylene-responsive element binding proteins (EREBPs) point to differences in regulatory processes at a high level, which provide opportunities to modify processes in order to enhance grain quality, germination, and storage as needed for different uses.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Hordeum vulgare; energy metabolism photosynthesis; mitochondria; seed germination; transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Germination / genetics*
  • Hordeum / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*