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Role of cell wall polysaccharides in water distribution during seed imbibition of Hymenaea courbaril L.
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  • Marcos S. Buckeridge,
  • Adriana Grandis,
  • Henrique Santos,
  • Patrícia P. Tonini,
  • Ivan S. Salles,
  • André Salles Cunha Peres,
  • Nicholas C. Carpita
Marcos S. Buckeridge
Universidade de Sao Paulo Departamento de Botanica

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Adriana Grandis
Universidade de Sao Paulo Departamento de Botanica
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Henrique Santos
Embrapa Trigo
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Patrícia P. Tonini
Universidade de Sao Paulo Departamento de Botanica
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Ivan S. Salles
Universidade de Sao Paulo Departamento de Botanica
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André Salles Cunha Peres
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte Instituto do Cerebro
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Nicholas C. Carpita
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Library
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Abstract

Seed water imbibition is critical to the seedling establishment in tropical forests. The neotropical tree Hymenaea ( Hymenaea courbaril) is a model system to study seed storage xyloglucan (XyG) mobilization after germination. Typical of many legumes, seed coats of Hymenaea are formed by a palisade of lignified cells, conferring imperviousness to water and the need for scarification to germinate. Below this fortified cell layer, a parenchyma layer, composed mainly of pectins, is juxtaposed on the surface of the cotyledon, whose cells contain thick cell walls containing mostly XyG. Here we used scanning electron and fluorescence microscopies, and NMRi spectroscopy to visualize water uptake and distribution in seeds of Hymenaea. An experiment with in vitro Hymenaea pectin or XyG composites with cellulose from the Whatman paper demonstrated the cell wall polymers’ functions during imbibition. We observed that water follows distinct pathways containing different cell wall compositions to varying speeds through the seed coat and cotyledons until embryo metabolism is activated synchronically with storage mobilization. We conclude that the dynamic interactions between water and wall polysaccharides (pectins and hemicellulose) of different seed tissues are central to determining water distribution and preparing the seedling for establishment.