Delayed Protein Changes During Seed Germination

Bing Bai*, Niels van der Horst, Jan H. Cordewener, Antoine H.P. America, Harm Nijveen, Leónie Bentsink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, ample transcriptome data have been generated at different stages during seed germination; however, far less is known about protein synthesis during this important physiological process. Generally, the correlation between transcript levels and protein abundance is low, which strongly limits the use of transcriptome data to accurately estimate protein expression. Polysomal profiling has emerged as a tool to identify mRNAs that are actively translated. The association of the mRNA to the polysome, also referred to as translatome, provides a proxy for mRNA translation. In this study, the correlation between the changes in total mRNA, polysome-associated mRNA, and protein levels across seed germination was investigated. The direct correlation between polysomal mRNA and protein abundance at a single time-point during seed germination is low. However, once the polysomal mRNA of a time-point is compared to the proteome of the next time-point, the correlation is much higher. 35% of the investigated proteome has delayed changes at the protein level. Genes have been classified based on their delayed protein changes, and specific motifs in these genes have been identified. Moreover, mRNA and protein stability and mRNA length have been found as important predictors for changes in protein abundance. In conclusion, polysome association and/or dissociation predicts future changes in protein abundance in germinating seeds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number735719
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • polysome profiling
  • proteome
  • ribosome
  • seed germination
  • translation delay
  • translatome


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