Transition from seeds to seedlings: Hormonal and epigenetic aspects

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Transition from seed to seedling is one of the critical developmental steps, dramatically affecting plant growth and viability. Before plants enter the vegetative phase of their ontogenesis, massive rearrangements of signaling pathways and switching of gene expression programs are required. This results in suppression of the genes controlling seed maturation and activation of those involved in regulation of vegetative growth. At the level of hormonal regulation, these events are controlled by the balance of abscisic acid and gibberellins, although ethylene, auxins, brassinosteroids, cytokinins, and jasmonates are also involved. The key players include the members of the LAFL network—the transcription factors LEAFY COTYLEDON1 and 2 (LEC 1 and 2), ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3), and FUSCA3 (FUS3), as well as DELAY OF GERMINATION1 (DOG1). They are the negative regulators of seed germination and need to be suppressed before seedling development can be initiated. This repressive signal is mediated by chromatin remodeling complexes—POLYCOMB REPRESSIVE COMPLEX 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2), as well as PICKLE (PKL) and PICKLE-RELATED2 (PKR2) proteins. Finally, epigenetic methylation of cytosine residues in DNA, histone post-translational modifications, and post-transcriptional downregulation of seed maturation genes with miRNA are discussed. Here, we summarize recent updates in the study of hormonal and epigenetic switches involved in regulation of the transition from seed germination to the post-germination stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1884
Issue number9
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2021

Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • desiccation tolerance
  • DNA Methylation
  • epigenetics
  • germination
  • histone modification
  • hormonal regulation
  • miRNA
  • post-germination
  • seeds


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