The funiculus provides the sole channel of communication between the seed and the parent plant; however, little is known about its role in nutrient supply during seed maturation. Here, we investigated the dynamic metabolite profiles of the funiculus during seed maturation in Brassica napus. The funiculus was fully developed at 21 days after flowering (DAF), but the levels of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fatty acids, and amino acids, increased rapidly from 21 to 35 DAF. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis and correlation analysis identified 37 metabolites that correlated closely with seed fresh weight. To determine the influence of silique wall photosynthesis on the metabolites in the funiculus, we also covered the siliques of intact plants with aluminum foil; in these plants, the funiculus and silique wall had lower metabolite levels, compared with control. RNA-sequencing analysis of the funiculi in the dark-treated and light-exposed siliques showed that the expression of genes encoding nutrient transporters significantly increased in the funiculi in the dark-treated siliques. Furthermore, the transcripts encoding primary metabolic enzymes for amino acid synthesis, fatty acid synthesis and triacylglycerol assembly, and sucrose-starch metabolism, were also markedly up-regulated, despite the decline in metabolite levels of funiculi in the dark-treated silique. These results provide new insights into funiculus function in seed growth and synthesis of storage reserves in seeds, at the metabolic and transcriptional levels. The identification of these metabolites and genes also provides useful information for creating genetically enhanced oilseed crops with improved seed properties.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 18, 2016
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