Morel A, Trontin JF, Corbineau F, Lomenech AM, Beaufour M, Reymond I, Le Metté C, Ader K, Harvengt L, Cadene M, Label P, Teyssier C, Lelu-Walter MA.
Planta (2014) 240 (5) 1075-1095 - doi : 10.1007/s00425-014-2125-z
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Cotyledonary somatic embryos (SEs) of maritime pine are routinely matured for 12 weeks before being germinated and converted to plantlets. Although regeneration success is highly dependent on SEs quality, the date of harvesting is currently determined mainly on the basis of morphological features. This empirical method does not provide any accurate information about embryo quality with respect to storage compounds (proteins, carbohydrates). We first analyzed SEs matured for 10, 12 and 14 weeks by carrying out biological (dry weight, water content) and biochemical measurements (total protein and carbohydrate contents). No difference could be found between collection dates, suggesting that harvesting SEs after 12 weeks is appropriate. Cotyledonary SEs were then compared to various stages, from fresh to fully desiccated, in the development of cotyledonary zygotic embryos (ZEs). We identified profiles that were similar using hierarchical ascendant cluster analysis (HCA). Fresh and dehydrated ZEs could be distinguished, and SEs clustered with fresh ZEs. Both types of embryo exhibited similar carbohydrate and protein contents and signatures. This high level of similarity (94.5 %) was further supported by proteome profiling. Highly expressed proteins included storage, stress-related, late embryogenesis abundant and energy metabolism proteins. By comparing overexpressed proteins in developing and cotyledonary SEs or ZEs, some (23 proteins) could be identified as candidate biomarkers for the late, cotyledonary stage. This is the first report of useful generic protein markers for monitoring embryo development in maritime pine. Our results also suggest that improvements of SEs quality may be achieved if the current maturation conditions are refined.