Myrigalone A (MyA) is a rare flavonoid in fruit leachates of Myrica gale, a deciduous shrub adapted to flood-prone habitats. As a putative allelochemical it inhibits seed germination and seedling growth. Using Lepidium sativum as a model target species, we investigated how environmental cues modulate the MyA interference with key processes of seed germination. Time course analyses of L. sativum testa and endosperm rupture at different light conditions and water potentials were combined with quantifying testa permeability, endosperm weakening, tissue-specific gibberellin (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA) contents, as well as embryo growth and apoplastic superoxide production important for cell expansion growth. Lepidium sativum testa permeability and early water uptake by imbibition is enhanced by MyA. During late germination, MyA inhibits endosperm weakening and embryo growth, both processes are required for endosperm rupture. Inhibition of embryo cell expansion by MyA depends on environmental cues, which is evident from the light-modulated severity of the MyA-mediated inhibition of apoplastic superoxide accumulation. Several important key weakening and growth processes during early and late germination are targets for MyA. These effects are modulated by light conditions and ambient water potential. We speculate that MyA is a soil seed bank destroying allelochemical that secures the persistence of M. gale in its flood-prone environment.
- allelochemical, apoplastic superoxide, embryo growth, endosperm cap weakening, gibberellins (GA), imbibition, Lepidium sativum, myrigalone A (MyA), seed germination, testa permeability