Translational control of seed germination - role of RNA binding proteins

Seed germination is essential for the establishment of the next generation plants. Therefore, the success of germination determines the success of the plant and with that the yield of the plant. Recently, we identified two crucial stages during seed germination that are under strong sequence specific translational control. This indicates that other factors than the total amount of messenger (m)RNA produced determines whether proteins are synthesized. There are a multitude of mechanisms that might affect translation, for instance, the mRNA’s could be stored in processing bodies or stress granules and therefore kept away from the ribosomes. Independent of mechanisms, all must involve sequence specific recognition of a signal hidden within the transcript, most likely by a RNA binding proteins (RBP). To date, knowledge about the RBPs involved in the translational control or the signals on the mRNA they recognize remains absent. We propose to identify RBPs involved in translational control during seed germination including the signals they recognize on the mRNA. Furthermore, we will evaluate their effect on translation and seed germination. In addition, we will investigate the ribosomal dynamics during seed germination using ribo-seq. This could, among others, provide more information on how translation is blocked in the dry phase of the seed. Insight on the regulation of seed germination will provide implications for the Dutch seed industry which aims at high quality seeds.

Funding: NWO-TTW, Bejo Zaden, Rijk Zwaan.