The expression of a peroxiredoxin antioxidant gene, AtPer1, in Arabidopsis thaliana is seed-specific and related to dormancy

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We have isolated a gene, AtPer1, from the dicotyledon Arabidopsis thaliana, which shows similarity to the 1-cysteine (1-Cys) peroxiredoxin family of antioxidants. In higher plants, members of this group of antioxidants have previously only been isolated from monocotyledons. It has been suggested that seed peroxiredoxins protect tissues from reactive oxygen species during desiccation and early imbibition and/or are involved in the maintenance of/protection during dormancy. AtPer1 expression is restricted to seeds. Despite differences in seed development between monocots and dicots, AtPer1 shows an expression pattern during seed development and germination similar to the dormancy-related transcript Per1 in barley. In situ hybridization identifies AtPer1 as the first aleurone-expressed transcript characterized in developing Arabidopsis seeds. The transcript is also expressed in the embryo. AtPer1 expression in seeds is unaltered in an ABA-deficient mutant (aba-1) during seed development, while expression in seeds of an ABA-insensitive mutant (abi3-1) is reduced. The transcript is not induced in vegetative tissue in response to stress by ABA or drought. AtPer1 transcript levels are correlated to germination frequencies of wildtype seeds, but AtPer1 transcript abundance is not sufficient for expression of dormancy in non-dormant mutants. Hypotheses on peroxiredoxin function are discussed in view of the results presented here.

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