- •Seeds can enter a state of dormancy, in which they do not germinate under optimal environmental conditions. Dormancy can be broken during seed after-ripening in the low-hydrated state.
- •By screening enhancer trap lines of Arabidopsis, we identified a role for the NADPH-oxidase AtrbohB in after-ripening. Semiquantitative PCR was used to investigate AtrbohB transcripts in seeds. These methods were complemented with a pharmacological approach using the inhibitor diphenylene iodonium chloride (DPI) and biomechanical measurements in the Brassicaceae seed model system cress (Lepidium sativum) as well as protein carbonylation assays.
- •atrbohB mutants fail to after-ripen and show reduced protein oxidation. AtrbohB pre-mRNA is alternatively spliced in seeds in a hormonally and developmentally regulated manner. AtrbohB is a major producer of superoxide in germinating Arabidopsis seeds, and inhibition of superoxide production by diphenylene iodonium (DPI) leads to a delay in Arabidopsis and cress seed germination and cress endosperm weakening.
- •Reactive oxygen species produced by AtrbohB during after-ripening could act via abscisic acid (ABA) signalling or post-translational protein modifications. Alternative splicing could be a general mechanism in after-ripening: by altered processing of stored pre-mRNAs seeds could react quickly to environmental changes.