Abstract

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are versatile compounds which can have toxic or signalling effects in a wide range living organisms, including seeds. They have been reported to play a pivotal role in the regulation of seed germination and dormancy but their mechanisms of action are still far from being fully understood. In this review, we sum-up the major findings that have been carried out this last decade in this field of research and which altogether shed a new light on the signalling roles of ROS in seed physiology. ROS participate in dormancy release during seed dry storage through the direct oxidation of a subset of biomolecules. During seed imbibition, the controlled generation of ROS is involved in the perception and transduction of environmental conditions that control germination. When these conditions are permissive for germination, ROS levels are maintained at a level which triggers cellular events associated with germination, such as hormone signalling. Here we propose that the spatiotemporal regulation of ROS production acts in concert with hormone signalling to regulate the cellular events involved in cell expansion associated with germination.

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