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Abstract

Light exposure is an important environmental factor which breaks seed dormancy in many plant species. Phytochromes have been identified as playing a crucial role in perception of the light signal that releases seed germination in Arabidopsis. Phototropins (Phot1, Phot2) are blue/UV-photoreceptors in plants which mediate phototropic responses, chloroplast relocation, hypocotyl growth inhibition and stomata opening. We studied germination under different light conditions in Arabidopsis Phot1-null and Phot2-null mutants and in a double phot1phot2 mutant. Germination of single phot1 and phot2 mutants in darkness was much lower than in wildtype (WT) seeds, whereas double phot1phot2 mutant lacking both functional phototropins germinated at frequency comparable to WT seeds, irrespective of light and temperature conditions. Light treatment of imbibed seeds was essential for effective germination of phot1, irrespective of low-temperature conditioning. In contrast, cold stratification promoted dark germination of phot2 seeds after imbibition in dim light. Low germination frequency of phot1 seeds under low light intensity suggests that the presence of functional Phot1 might be crucial for effective germination at these conditions. The lower germination frequency of phot2 seeds under continuous light suggests that Phot2 might be responsible for stimulating germination of seeds exposed to direct daylight. Thus, the phototropin system may cooperate with phytochromes regulating the germination competence of seeds under different environmental conditions
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