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GABA Enhances Thermotolerance of Seeds Germination by Attenuating the ROS Damage in Arabidopsis

Qili Zhang, Danni He, Songbei Ying, Shiyan Lu, Jiali Wei, Ping Li*
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Bio-Energy Crops, Research Center for Natural Products, Plant Science Center, School of Life Sciences, Shanghai University, Shanghai, 200444, China
* Corresponding Author: Ping Li. Email:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2020, 89(3), 619-631.

Received 29 February 2020; Accepted 13 April 2020; Issue published 22 June 2020


Seeds germination is strictly controlled by environment factor such as high temperature (HT) through altering the balance between gibberellin acid (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA). Gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a small molecule with four-carbon amino acid, which plays a crucial role during plant physiological process associated with pollination, wounding or abiotic stress, but its role in seeds germination under HT remains elusive. In this study we found that HT induced the overaccumulation of ROS, mainly H2O2 and O2- , to suppress seeds germination, meanwhile, HT also activated the enzyme activity of GAD for the rapid accumulation of GABA, hinting the regulatory function of GABA in controlling seeds germination against HT stress. Applying GABA directly attenuated HT-induced ROS accumulation, upregulated GA biosynthesis and downregulated ABA biosynthesis, ultimately enhanced seeds germination. Consistently, genetic analysis using the gad1/2 mutant defective in GABA biosynthesis, or pop2-5 mutant with high endogenous GABA content supported the potential function of GABA in improving seeds germination tolerance to HT through scavenging ROS overaccumulation. Based on these data, we propose that GABA acts as a novel signal to enhance thermotolerance of seeds germination through alleviating the ROS damage to seeds viability.


GABA; thermotolerance; ROS damage; seeds germination

Cite This Article

Zhang, Q., He, D., Ying, S., Lu, S., Wei, J. et al. (2020). GABA Enhances Thermotolerance of Seeds Germination by Attenuating the ROS Damage in Arabidopsis. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 89(3), 619–631.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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