Comprehensive transcriptome and proteome analyses reveal a novel sodium chloride responsive gene network in maize seed tissues during germination

Mo Xian Chen, Chong Chong Lu, Peng Cheng Sun, Yong Xin Nie, Yuan Tian, Qi Juan Hu, Debatosh Das, Xuan Xuan Hou, Bei Gao, Xi Chen, Shou Xu Liu, Cheng Chao Zheng, Xiang Yu Zhao, Lei Dai, Jianhua ZHANG*, Ying Gao Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Germination is a plant developmental process by which radicle of mature seeds start to penetrate surrounding barriers for seedling establishment and multiple environmental factors have been shown to affect it. Little is known how high salinity affects seed germination of C4 plant, Zea mays. Preliminary germination assay suggested that isolated embryo alone was able to germinate under 200 mM NaCl treatment, whereas the intact seeds were highly repressed. We hypothesized that maize endosperm may function in perception and transduction of salt signal to surrounding tissues such as embryo, showing a completely different response to that in Arabidopsis. Since salt response involves ABA, we analysed in vivo ABA distribution and quantity and the result demonstrated that ABA level in isolated embryo under NaCl treatment failed to increase in comparison with the water control, suggesting that the elevation of ABA level is an endosperm dependent process. Subsequently, by using advanced profiling techniques such as RNA sequencing and SWATH-MS-based quantitative proteomics, we found substantial differences in post-transcriptional and translational changes between salt-treated embryo and endosperm. In summary, our results indicate that these regulatory mechanisms, such as alternative splicing, are likely to mediate early responses to salt stress during maize seed germination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • quantitative proteomics
  • seed germination
  • sodium chloride
  • splicing factor
  • transcriptome
  • Zea mays


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