Arabidopsis thaliana germination

Background: Seed germination involves progression from complete metabolic dormancy to a highly active, growing seedling. Many factors regulate germination and these interact extensively, forming a complex network of inputs that control the seed-to-seedling transition. Our understanding of the direct regulation of gene expression and the dynamic changes in the epigenome and small RNAs during germination is limited. The interactions between genome, transcriptome and epigenome must be revealed in order to identify the regulatory mechanisms that control seed germination.

Results: We present an integrated analysis of high-resolution RNA sequencing, small RNA sequencing and MethylC sequencing over ten developmental time points in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds, finding extensive transcriptomic and epigenomic transformations associated with seed germination. We identify previously unannotated loci from which messenger RNAs are expressed transiently during germination and find widespread alternative splicing and divergent isoform abundance of genes involved in RNA processing and splicing. We generate the first dynamic transcription factor network model of germination, identifying known and novel regulatory factors. Expression of both microRNA and short interfering RNA loci changes significantly during germination, particularly between the seed and the post-germinative seedling. These are associated with changes in gene expression and large-scale demethylation observed towards the end of germination, as the epigenome transitions from an embryo-like to a vegetative seedling state.

Conclusions: This study reveals the complex dynamics and interactions of the transcriptome and epigenome during seed germination, including the extensive remodelling of the seed DNA methylome from an embryo-like to vegetative-like state during the seed-to-seedling transition. Data are available for exploration in a user-friendly browser JBrowse.

Keywords: Arabidopsis Germination RNA-seq Alternative splicing DNA methylation Small RNA Transcription factor

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harvest

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