During seed germination, desiccation tolerance is lost in the radicle with progressing radicle protrusion and seedling establishment. This process is accompanied by comprehensive changes in the metabolome and proteome. Germination of Arabidopsis seeds was investigated over 72 h with special focus on the heat-stable proteome including late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins together with changes in primary metabolites. Six metabolites in dry seeds known to be important for seed longevity decreased during germination and seedling establishment, while all other metabolites increased simultaneously with activation of growth and development. Thermo-stable proteins were associated with a multitude of biological processes. In the heat-stable proteome, a relatively similar proportion of fully ordered and fully intrinsically disordered proteins (IDP) was discovered. Highly disordered proteins were found to be associated with functional categories development, protein, RNA and stress. As expected, the majority of LEA proteins decreased during germination and seedling establishment. However, four germination-specific dehydrins were identified, not present in dry seeds. A network analysis of proteins, metabolites and amino acids generated during the course of germination revealed a highly connected LEA protein network.
Keywords: Arabidopsis; LEA transcripts; dehydrins; heat-stable proteome; intrinsically disordered proteins; late embryogenesis abundant; metabolomics; seed germination.