Underground early development of higher plants includes two distinct developmental processes, seed germination and then skotomorphogenesis, a mechanism which favours elongation of the hypocotyl and helps the seedling to find light. Interestingly, both processes, which are regulated by plant hormones, have been shown to depend on reactive oxygen species metabolism and to be related to mitochondrial retrograde signalling. Here we review the recent outcomes in this field of research and highlight the emerging role of ROS communication between organelles and cell compartments. We point out the role of mitochondria as an environmental and developmental sensor organelle that regulates ROS homeostasis and downstream events and we propose future directions of research that should help better understanding the roles of ROS in germination and seedling emergence.

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