Effects of parental temperature and nitrate on seed performance are reflected by partly overlapping genetic and metabolic pathways

Hanzi He, Leo A.J. Willems, Albert Batushansky, Aaron Fait, Johannes Hanson, Harm Nijveen, Henk W.M. Hilhorst, Leónie Bentsink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Seed performance is affected by the seed maturation environment, and previously we have shown that temperature, nitrate and light intensity were the most influential environmental factors affecting seed performance. Seeds developed in these environments were selected to assess the underlying metabolic pathways, using a combination of transcriptomics and metabolomics. These analyses revealed that the effects of the parental temperature and nitrate environments were reflected by partly overlapping genetic and metabolic networks, as indicated by similar changes in the expression levels of metabolites and transcripts. Nitrogen metabolism-related metabolites (asparagine, γ-aminobutyric acid and allantoin) were significantly decreased in both low temperature (15°C) and low nitrate (N0) maturation environments. Correspondingly, nitrogen metabolism genes (ALLANTOINASE, NITRATE REDUCTASE 1, NITRITE REDUCTASE 1 and NITRILASE 4) were differentially regulated in the low temperature and nitrate maturation environments, as compared with control conditions. High light intensity during seed maturation increased galactinol content, and displayed a high correlation with seed longevity. Low light had a genotype-specific effect on cell surface-encoding genes in the DELAY OF GERMINATION 6-near isogenic line (NILDOG6). Overall, the integration of phenotypes, metabolites and transcripts led to new insights into the regulation of seed performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-487
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Light intensity
  • Metabolites
  • Nitrate
  • Seed maturation
  • Temperature
  • Transcriptome

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  • Datasets

    Parental Effects on Seed Transcriptome-Metabolome

    He, H. (Creator), Willems, L. (Creator), Batushansky, A. (Creator), Fait, A. (Creator), Hanson, J. (Creator), Nijveen, H. (Creator), Hilhorst, H. (Creator) & Bentsink, L. (Creator), Wageningen University, 1 Jan 2016


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