Separating the stages of germination

Separating the stages of germination

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Rehydration triggers protein condensation within Arabidopsis seeds.

IMAGE: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE SOURCE

Many plant seeds exist in a desiccated state awaiting water for germination. Dorone et al. identified the intrinsically disordered protein FLOE1 in the Arabidopsis seed proteome. FLOE1 remains distributed in a desiccated environment but forms condensates upon hydration in a reversible process that is sensitive to changes in water potential. Natural variation in the aspartate-serine–rich domain fine-tunes the response to hydration. In vivo, this phase separation of FLOE1 coincides with seed germination. Genetic and allelic diversity seems to position FLOE1 in bet hedging for an individual plant, as well as in adaptation across plant lineages to varying niches, all to optimize the timing of seed germination.

Cell 184, P4284 (2021).

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