Effect of chilling acclimation on germination and seedlings response to cold in different seed coat colored wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

Paulina Calderon Flores, Jin Seok Yoon, Dae Yeon Kim, Yong Weon Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Flavonoids can protect plants against extreme temperatures and ROS due to their antioxidant activities. We found that deep-purple seed coat color was controlled by two gene interaction (12:3:1) from the cross between yellow and deep-purple seed coat colored inbreds. F2:3 seeds were grouped in 3 by seed coat color and germinated under chilling (4 °C) and non-acclimated conditions (18 °C) for a week, followed by normal conditions (18 °C) for three weeks and a subsequent chilling stress (4 °C) induction. We analyzed mean daily germination in each group. Additionally, to study the acclimation in relationship to the different seed coat colors on the germination ability and seedling performances under the cold temperatures, we measured the chlorophyll content, ROS scavenging activity, and expression levels of genes involved in ROS scavenging, flavonoid biosynthetic pathway, and cold response in seedlings. Results: The results of seed color segregation between yellow and deep purple suggested a two-gene model. In the germination study, normal environmental conditions induced the germination of yellow-seed, while under chilling conditions, the germination ratio of deep purple-seed was higher than that of yellow-colored seeds. We also found that the darker seed coat colors were highly responsive to cold acclimation based on the ROS scavenging enzymes activity and gene expression of ROS scavenging enzymes, flavonoid biosynthetic pathway and cold responsive genes. Conclusions: We suggest that deep purple colored seed might be in a state of innate pre-acquired stress response state under normal conditions to counteract stresses in a more effective way. Whereas, after the acclimation, another stress should enhance the cold genes expression response, which might result in a more efficient chilling stress response in deep purple seed seedlings. Low temperature has a large impact on the yield of crops. Thus, understanding the benefit of seed coat color response to chilling stress and the identification of limiting factors are useful for developing breeding strategies in order to improve the yield of wheat under chilling stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was carried out with the support of the “Next-Generation BioGreen21 Program for Agriculture & Technology Development (Project No. PJ015666)” Rural Development Administration. Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Cold tolerance
  • Flavonoids
  • Low temperature
  • Purple wheat
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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