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Novel cytonuclear combinations modify Arabidopsis thaliana seed physiology and vigor

Abstract : Dormancy and germination vigor are complex traits of primary importance for adaptation and agriculture. Intraspecific variation in cytoplasmic genomes and cytonuclear interactions were previously reported to affect germination in Arabidopsis using novel cytonuclear combinations that disrupt co-adaptation between natural variants of nuclear and cytoplasmic genomes. However, specific aspects of dormancy and germination vigor were not thoroughly explored, nor the parental contributions to the genetic effects. Here, we specifically assessed dormancy, germination performance and longevity of seeds from Arabidopsis plants with natural and new genomic compositions. All three traits were modified by cytonuclear reshuffling. Both depth and release rate of dormancy could be modified by a changing of cytoplasm. Significant changes on dormancy and germination performance due to specific cytonuclear interacting combinations mainly occurred in opposite directions, consistent with the idea that a single physiological consequence of the new genetic combination affected both traits oppositely. However, this was not always the case. Interestingly, the ability of parental accessions to contribute to significant cytonuclear interactions modifying the germination phenotype was different depending on whether they provided the nuclear or cytoplasmic genetic compartment. The observed deleterious effects of novel cytonuclear combinations (in comparison with the nuclear parent) were consistent with a contribution of cytonuclear interactions to germination adaptive phenotypes. More surprisingly, we also observed favorable effects of novel cytonuclear combinations, suggesting suboptimal genetic combinations exist in natural populations for these traits. Reduced sensitivity to exogenous ABA and faster endogenous ABA decay during germination were observed in a novel cytonuclear combination that also exhibited enhanced longevity and better germination performance, compared to its natural nuclear parent. Taken together, our results strongly support that cytoplasmic genomes represent an additional resource of natural variation for breeding seed vigor traits.
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Clément Boussardon, Marie-Laure Martin-Magniette, Béatrice Godin, Abdelilah Benamar, Benjamin Vittrant, et al.. Novel cytonuclear combinations modify Arabidopsis thaliana seed physiology and vigor. Frontiers in Plant Science, Frontiers, 2019, 10, pp.32. ⟨10.3389/fpls.2019.00032⟩. ⟨hal-02557423⟩

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