a1 Physiologie Végétale Appliquée, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, tour 53, 1étage, 4 place Jussieu, Paris cedex 05, 75252, France
Active oxygen species (AOS) are involved in various aspects of seed physiology. Their generation, which occurs during seed desiccation, germination and ageing, may lead to oxidative stress and cellular damage, resulting in seed deterioration. However, cells are endowed with detoxifying enzymes and antioxidant compounds that scavenge AOS and participate in seed survival. The detoxifying mechanisms play a key role in acquisition of desiccation tolerance of developing seeds, completion of seed germination and seed storability. However, AOS must also be regarded as molecules intervening in cellular signalling. They are involved in growth processes occurring at early embryogenesis during seed development, and participate in the mechanisms underlying radicle protrusion during seed germination. AOS might also have a regulatory function in the changes in gene expression during seed development, dormancy and germination. Their interplay with other molecules, particularly with hormones such as abscisic acid, suggests that they should be considered as key components of an integrated signalling network involved in many aspects of seed physiology.
(Received December 10 2003)
(Accepted February 20 2004)