Study of mucilage production in Arabidopsis natural populations and its contribution to seed lifespan

Abstract : Polysaccharides are the major component of cell walls that are dynamic structures playing a fundamental role in plant growth. On imbibition, the epidermal cells of the Arabidopsis seed coat release a mucilage hydrogel formed of polysaccharides. This has proved to be an excellent model system for the study of cell wall polysaccharide production, properties and interactions. The first objective of my thesis was to exploit natural variation between Arabidopsis accessions to identify genes controlling mucilage polysaccharide production. A genome wide association study identified genes encoding proteins with putative functions as either an amine oxidase or glycosyltransferase and these were confirmed to contribute to the synthesis of mucilage pectin. I also found that a family of small proteins, whose function is undetermined, are likely to modulate the interaction of mucilage polymers. Mucilage is also an adaptive trait that may influence various aspects of seed physiology. Recent results indicate that this hydrogel plays a role in the retention of water around the seed and could influence their lifespan. A second objective of my thesis was to use mutants showing altered mucilage production to determine its contribution to seed lifespan after a controlled hydration treatment called ‘priming’. Seeds that do not release mucilage on imbibition retained longevity better after priming. I highlighted that the steady state levels of salicylic acid in primed seeds were influenced by mucilage and correlated negatively with their longevity. My results contribute to our genetic, physicochemical and ecophysiological understanding of mucilage production by seeds.
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Isabelle Fabrissin. Study of mucilage production in Arabidopsis natural populations and its contribution to seed lifespan. Vegetal Biology. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLA043⟩. ⟨tel-02165157v2⟩

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