Regulatory‐associated protein of TOR (RAPTOR) alters the hormonal and metabolic composition of Arabidopsis seeds, controlling seed morphology, viability and germination potential
Target of Rapamycin (TOR) is a positive regulator of growth and development in all eukaryotes, which positively regulates anabolic processes like protein synthesis, while repressing catabolic processes, including autophagy. To better understand TOR function we decided to analyze its role in seed development and germination. We therefore performed a detailed phenotypic analysis using mutants of the REGULATORY‐ASSOCIATED PROTEIN OF TOR 1B (RAPTOR1B), a conserved TOR interactor, acting as a scaffold protein, which recruits substrates for the TOR kinase. Our results show that raptor1b plants produced seeds that were delayed in germination and less resistant to stresses, leading to decreased viability. These physiological phenotypes were accompanied by morphological changes including decreased seed‐coat pigmentation and reduced production of seed‐coat mucilage. A detailed molecular analysis revealed that many of these morphological changes were associated with significant changes of the metabolic content of raptor1b seeds, including elevated levels of free amino acids, as well as reduced levels of protective secondary metabolites and storage proteins. Most of these observed changes were accompanied by significantly altered phytohormone levels in the raptor1b seeds, with increases in abscisic acid, auxin and jasmonic acid, which are known to inhibit germination. Delayed germination and seedling growth, observed in the raptor1b seeds, could be partially restored by the exogenous supply of gibberellic acid, indicating that TOR is at the center of a regulatory hub controlling seed metabolism, maturation and germination.
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