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TransEpiSeed: The role of mRNA methylation in control of seed germination

Project description

Improving seed germination in plants

Seed germination is an essential part of plant life, paramount for survival and yield. During maturation, seeds accumulate translationally inert mRNA, which gets activated upon water uptake and triggers seed germination. The scope of the EU-funded TransEpiSeed project is to investigate the mechanisms that govern the storage of these mRNAs in dry seeds, aiming to provide important insight into seed germination. Scientists will focus on internal mRNA modifications as signals for the recruitment of proteins that will trigger translation. Understanding the regulatory control of seed germination will help improve the process with obvious advantages for modernised precision agriculture.


Seed germination is a unique phase of the plant life cycle. Its correct coordination is crucial for seedling establishment, and germination is, therefore, key for crop survival and yield. The improvement of seed germination will be highly important for modernized precision agriculture.
Seeds accumulate a substantial amount of translationally inert mRNA during maturation. These mRNAs have a strikingly long half-life allowing seeds of certain plant species survive up to thousands of years. Upon water-uptake, these mRNAs are translationally activated in support of seed germination. The function of mRNAs stored in dry seeds has been a mystery for decades. My recent work demonstrated that these stored mRNAs are associated with ribosomes and that they get translated during early seed germination. Therefore, an understanding of the regulatory mechanisms that govern the storage of these mRNAs in dry seeds, and their eventual translation upon germination will reveal tremendous insight into seed germination.
A multitude of mechanisms might affect mRNA translation. Common to them is that they must involve sequence-specific recognition of a signal within the transcript, such as an mRNA modification. N6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most widespread internal mRNA modification, has been shown to have important role on mRNA stability or translation efficiency involving recruitment of specialized m6A-binding proteins, in plants referred to as EVOLUTIONARILY CONSERVED C-TERMINUS (ECT) proteins. TransEpiSeed aims to study the relevance of m6A for translational control during seed germination by investigation of m6A dynamics and the function of ECT proteins. Combining my knowledge on the translational regulation of seed germination with expertise on m6A of the host lab provides a strong base to increase the insight into the regulation of seed germination. The results will provide opportunities for high-quality seed production and strengthen my skills required as advanced seed biologist.


Net EU contribution
€ 207 312,00
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00