Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during rehydration of seeds is a major source of cellular damage. Successful germination depends on maintaining the oxidative window and ability of the cells to repair the DNA damage accumulated during seed developmental process, maturational drying, and germination. We explored the role of DNA damage, repair, cell cycle progression and antioxidant machinery in germination of seeds of Solanum melongena L. primed with 0, 320, 640 and 1200 mM sodium chloride (NaCl). The expression of antioxidant genes such as ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase2 (CAT2), and glutathione reductase (GR) was upregulated to maintain the oxidative window required for germination in seeds treated with 320 mM NaCl. ROS generated upon treatment with 320 mM NaCl resulted in minimal DNA damage and activated non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and mismatch repair (MMR) pathway genes such as KU70 and mutS homolog 2 (MSH2) respectively. Treatment with higher concentrations of NaCl resulted in increased DNA damage despite lower ROS, without evoking DNA repair mechanisms. Uncontrolled rehydration resulted in higher levels of ROS and DNA damage, but activation of homologous recombination (HR) pathway gene, Nijmegen breakage syndrome 1 (NBS1), and genes involved in repairing oxidized guanine, such as oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). In summary, controlled rehydration with 320 mM NaCl decreased the DNA damage, reactivated the antioxidant and DNA repair machinery, and cell cycle progression, thereby enhancing the seed germination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112050
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - 12-2020


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