Control processes in the induction and relief of thermoinhibition of lettuce seed germination

Actions of phytochrome and endogenous ethylene

Deep Saini, Evangeline D. Consolacion, P. K. BASSI, M. S. SPENCER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Germination of lettuce seeds (Lactuca sativa L. cv Grand Rapids) in the dark was nearly 100% at 20 degrees C but was inhibited at 27 degrees C and higher temperatures (thermoinhibition). A single 5-minute exposure to red light completely overcame the inhibition at temperatures up to 28 degrees C, above which the effectiveness of single light exposures gradually declined to reach a negligible level at 32 degrees C. However, the promotive effect of light could be extended to 34 degrees C by repeated irradiations. At any one temperature, increased frequency of irradiations increased germination percentage, and with each degree increase in temperature, increasingly frequent irradiations were necessary to elicit maximal germination. Loss of the effectiveness of single irradiations with increase in temperature may result either from acceleration of the thermal reversion of the far red-absorbing form of phytochrome or decrease in seed sensitivity toward a given percentage of the far red-absorbing form of phytochrome. Using continuous red light to induce germination, the role of endogenous C(2)H(4) in germination at 32 degrees C was studied. Ethylene evolution from irradiated seeds began to increase 2 hours prior to radicle protrusion, whereas the dark-incubated (nongerminating) seeds produced a low, constant amount of C(2)H(4) throughout the 24 hour incubation period. Inhibition of C(2)H(4) synthesis with 2-aminoethoxyvinyl glycine and/or inhibition of C(2)H(4) action with 2,5-norbornadiene blocked the promotive effect of light. Exogenous C(2)H(4) overcame these blockages. The results showed that participation by endogenous C(2)H(4) was essential for the light-induced relief of thermoinhibition of lettuce seed germination. However, light did not act exclusively via C(2)H(4) since exogenous C(2)H(4) alone in darkness did not promote germination
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-315
Number of pages5
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes


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