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Changes in cell wall polysaccharide composition, gene transcription and alternative splicing in germinating barley embryos

Zhang, Qisen, Zhang, Xiaoqi, Pettolino, Filomena, Zhou, Gaofeng, Li, Chengdao
Journal of plant physiology 2016 v.191 pp. 127-139
seed germination, mitochondrial membrane, metabolism, barley, alternative splicing, polymers, sugars, Hordeum vulgare, cell walls, DNA, cellulose, transcription (genetics), arabinogalactans, cell wall components, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, introns
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seed germination initiates many important biological processes such as DNA, membrane and mitochondrial repairs. However, little is known on cell wall modifications in germinating embryos. We have investigated cell wall polysaccharide composition change, gene transcription and alternative splicing events in four barley varieties at 24h and 48h germination. Cell wall components in germinating barley embryos changed rapidly, with increases in cellulose and (1,3)(1,4)-β-d-glucan (20–100%) within 24h, but decreases in heteroxylan and arabinan (3–50%). There were also significant changes in the levels of type I arabinogalactans and heteromannans. Alternative splicing played very important roles in cell wall modifications. At least 22 cell wall transcripts were detected to undergo either alternative 3′ splicing, alternative 5′ splicing or intron retention type of alternative splicing. These genes coded enzymes catalyzing synthesis and degradation of cellulose, heteroxylan, (1,3)(1,4)-β-d-glucan and other cell wall polymers. Furthermore, transcriptional regulation also played very important roles in cell wall modifications. Transcript levels of primary wall cellulase synthase, heteroxylan synthesizing and nucleotide sugar inter-conversion genes were very high in germinating embryos. At least 50 cell wall genes changed transcript levels significantly. Expression patterns of many cell wall genes coincided with changes in polysaccharide composition. Our data showed that cell wall polysaccharide metabolism was very active in germinating barley embryos, which was regulated at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.