Journal Article

Molecular Mechanism of Seed Coat Discoloration Induced by Low Temperature in Yellow Soybean

Atsushi Kasai, Shizen Ohnishi, Hiroyuki Yamazaki, Hideyuki Funatsuki, Tasuku Kurauchi, Takuro Matsumoto, Setsuzo Yumoto and Mineo Senda

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 50, issue 6, pages 1090-1098
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcp061
Molecular Mechanism of Seed Coat Discoloration Induced by Low Temperature in Yellow Soybean

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Seed coat pigmentation is inhibited in yellow soybean. The I gene inhibits pigmentation over the entire seed coat. In yellow soybean, seed coat discoloration occurs when plants are exposed to low temperatures after the onset of flowering, a phenomenon named ‘cold-induced discoloration (CD)’. Inhibition of seed coat pigmentation results from post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) of the chalcone synthase (CHS) genes. PTGS is a sequence-specific RNA degradation mechanism in plants and occurs via short interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Similar post-transcriptional suppression is called RNAi (RNA inter-ference) in animals. Recently, we identified a candidate of the I gene designated GmIRCHS. In this study, to elucidate the molecular mechanism of CD, CHS mRNA and siRNA levels in the seed coat were compared between CD-sensitive and CD-tolerant cultivars (Toyomusume and Toyoharuka, respectively). In Toyomusume, the CHS siRNA level was reduced markedly by low temperature treatment, and subsequently the CHS mRNA level increased rapidly after treatment. In contrast, low temperature treatment did not result in severe reduction of the CHS siRNA level in Toyoharuka, and the CHS mRNA level did not increase after the treatment. These results suggest that the rapid increase in CHS mRNA level after low temperature treatment may lead to enhanced pigmentation in some of the seed coat cells and finally in seed coat discoloration. Interestingly, we found a Toyoharuka-specific difference in the GmIRCHS region, which may be involved in CD tolerance.

Keywords: CHS genes; Low temperature; PTGS; Seed coat discoloration; Tolerance; Yellow soybean

Journal Article.  5019 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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