Understanding the role of H2O2 during pea seed germination: a combined proteomic and hormone profiling approach


J. A. Hernández. Fax: +34 68 396213; e-mail: jahernan@cebas.csic.es


In a previous publication, we showed that the treatment of pea seeds in the presence of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) increased germination performance as well as seedling growth. To gain insight into the mechanisms responsible for this behaviour, we have analysed the effect of treating mature pea seeds in the presence of 20 mm H2O2 on several oxidative features such as protein carbonylation, endogenous H2O2 and lipid peroxidation levels. We report that H2O2 treatment of the pea seeds increased their endogenous H2O2 content and caused carbonylation of storage proteins and of several metabolic enzymes. Under the same conditions, we also monitored the expression of two MAPK genes known to be activated by H2O2 in adult pea plants. The expression of one of them, PsMAPK2, largely increased upon pea seed imbibition in H2O2, whereas no change could be observed in expression of the other, PsMAPK3. The levels of several phytohormones such as 1-aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid, indole-3-acetic acid and zeatin appeared to correlate with the measured oxidative indicators and with the expression of PsMAPK2. Globally, our results suggest a key role of H2O2 in the coordination of pea seed germination, acting as a priming factor that involves specific changes at the proteome, transcriptome and hormonal levels.