Journal Article Unraveling Key Metabolomic Alterations in Wheat Embryos Derived from Freshly Harvested and Water-Imbibed Seeds of Two Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Dormancy Status

Das, Aayudh  ,  Kim, Dea-Wook  ,  Khadka, Pramod  ,  Rakwal, Randeep  ,  Rohila, Jai S.

8p.1203 , 2017-07 , Frontiers
Untimely rains in wheat fields during harvest season can cause pre-harvest sprouting (PHS), which deteriorates the yield and quality of wheat crop. Metabolic homeostasis of the embryo plays a role in seed dormancy, determining the status of the maturing grains either as dormant (PHS-tolerant) or non-dormant (PHS-susceptible). Very little is known for direct measurements of global metabolites in embryonic tissues of dormant and non-dormant wheat seeds. In this study, physiologically matured and freshly harvested wheat seeds of PHS-tolerant (cv. Sukang, dormant) and PHS-susceptible (cv. Baegjoong, non-dormant) cultivars were water-imbibed, and the isolated embryos were subjected to high-throughput, global non-targeted metabolomic profiling. A careful comparison of identified metabolites between Sukang and Baegjoong embryos at 0 and 48 h after imbibition revealed that several key metabolic pathways [such as: lipids, fatty acids, oxalate, hormones, the raffinose family of oligosaccharides (RFOs), and amino acids] and phytochemicals were differentially regulated between dormant and non-dormant varieties. Most of the membrane lipids were highly reduced in Baegjoong compared to Sukang, which indicates that the cell membrane instability in response to imbibition could also be a key factor in non-dormant wheat varieties for their untimely germination. This study revealed that several key marker metabolites (e.g., RFOs: glucose, fructose, maltose, and verbascose), were highly expressed in Baegjoong after imbibition. Furthermore, the data showed that the key secondary metabolites and phytochemicals (vitexin, chrysoeriol, ferulate, salidroside and gentisic acid), with known antioxidant properties, were comparatively low at basal levels in PHS-susceptible, non-dormant cultivar, Baegjoong. In conclusion, the results of this investigation revealed that after imbibition the metabolic homeostasis of dormant wheat is significantly less affected compared to non-dormant wheat. The inferences from this study combined with proteomic and transcriptomic studies will advance the molecular understanding of the pathways and enzyme regulations during PHS.

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