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Distinct metabolome changes during seed germination of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) in response to thermal stress as revealed by untargeted metabolomics analysis

Wei Shiwei, Yang Xiao, Huo Guotao, Ge Guojun, Liu Hongyan, Luo Lijun, Hu Jinguo, Huang Danfeng, Long Ping
International journal of molecular sciences 2020 v.21 no.4 pp. -
Lactuca sativa, air temperature, amino acids, buds, cultivars, fatty acids, genotype, heat stress, heat tolerance, lettuce, metabolome, metabolomics, phenolic compounds, phytosterols, seed germination, seeds, sesquiterpenoid lactones, sugars
Temperature strongly influences lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seed germination. Different lettuce genotypes respond differently to higher temperatures or thermal stress. In this study, we evaluated the germination performance of 304 lettuce accessions incubated at three temperature settings, 21 °C, 28 °C and 35 °C, respectively, for 40 h. At 21 °C, seeds of all 304 accessions germinated very well with an average germination percentage of 87.72%; at 28 °C, the average germination percentage dropped to 42.84% and at 35 °C, the germination decreased to 1.01%. Then, we investigated changes in metabolic profiles of lettuce seed response to thermal stress using an untargeted metabolomics approach. Results suggested that seeds of thermal-sensitive and thermal-tolerant cultivars employed different metabolic strategies in response to thermal stress during germination. Thermal-sensitive buds accumulated more significant amounts of organic acids, amino acids, sugars, sterols, phenolic compounds and terpenoids compared to thermal-tolerant buds at 21 °C. Thermal-tolerant lettuce cultivar accumulated higher concentrations of amino acids, organic acids, sugars, sesquiterpene lactones, sterols, and fatty acids derivatives during the germination at 35 °C compared to germinated at 21 °C. This investigation paves the way to link the metabolomics to other external and internal factors affecting lettuce seed germination under thermal stress.