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The metabolic environment of the developing embryo: A multidisciplinary approach on oilseed rapeseed

Rolletschek, H., Mayer, S., Boughton, B.ORCID: 0000-0001-6342-9814, Wagner, S., Ortleb, S., Kiel, C., Roessner, U. and Borisjuk, L. (2021) The metabolic environment of the developing embryo: A multidisciplinary approach on oilseed rapeseed. Journal of Plant Physiology, 265 . Art. 153505.

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Brassicaceae seeds consist of three genetically distinct structures: the embryo, endosperm and seed coat, all of which are involved in assimilate allocation during seed development. The complexity of their metabolic interrelations remains unresolved to date. In the present study, we apply state-of-the-art imaging and analytical approaches to assess the metabolic environment of the Brassica napus embryo. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provided volumetric data on the living embryo and endosperm, revealing how the endosperm envelops the embryo, determining endosperm's priority in assimilate uptake from the seed coat during early development. MRI analysis showed higher levels of sugars in the peripheral endosperm facing the seed coat, but a lower sugar content within the central vacuole and the region surrounding the embryo. Feeding intact siliques with 13C-labeled sucrose allowed tracing of the post-phloem route of sucrose transfer within the seed at the heart stage of embryogenesis, by means of mass spectrometry imaging. Quantification of over 70 organic and inorganic compounds in the endosperm revealed shifts in their abundance over different stages of development, while sugars and potassium were the main determinants of osmolality throughout these stages. Our multidisciplinary approach allows access to the hidden aspects of endosperm metabolism, a task which remains unattainable for the small-seeded model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Australian National Phenome Center
Publisher: Elsevier GmbH
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s).
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