Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 36, Issue 5–6, pp 738–749 | Cite as

Comparative Proteomics Reveals the Mechanisms Underlying Variations in Seed Vigor Based on Maize (Zea mays L.) Ear Positions

  • Yan LiEmail author
  • Haibin Qu
  • Pengyu Zhu
  • Kemei Su
  • Chunqing ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


Seed vigor is influenced by seed position in plant. However, current understanding of its underlying mechanism is limited. In this study, we used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation technique to study the comparative proteomes between middle seeds (with higher vigor) and top seeds of maize (Zea mays L.) ears at 0 h, 24 h, and 48 h of imbibition. A total of 159 differentially accumulated proteins were identified. Among these, the largest number of proteins was from the functional categories of Disease/Defense and Metabolism. Compared with top seeds, most of the differentially accumulated proteins of Protein Synthesis and Energy showed higher accumulation in middle seeds at 0 h and 24 h of imbibition, but lower accumulation at 48 h of imbibition. Seed water absorption activates metabolic processes. The water content of middle seeds was significantly lower than that of top seeds at between 12 h and 30 h of imbibition, but energy production would be higher in the middle seeds at 24 h of imbibition. Meanwhile, tonoplast intrinsic proteins 3.1 and 3.2, which mediate water inflow into protein storage vacuoles, then activating enzymes involved in reserve mobilization, showed higher accumulation in middle seeds at 24 h of imbibition. In addition, our data also showed middle seeds may suffer less fungal damages. Our results contribute to understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of growth position on seed vigor.


Aquaporins Fungal resistance Proteomics Seed position Seed vigor Zea mays 



We thank Professor Gerhard Leubner, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, for reading and providing valuable comments on this manuscript.

Author Contributions

YL and CZ planned and designed the research. HQ, PZ, and KS conducted experiments. HQ, YL, and CZ analyzed the data. YL wrote the paper.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31271808 and 31771890) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0100901).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11105_2018_1115_MOESM1_ESM.docx (827 kb)
Online Resource 1 Plant materials used in the present study. (DOCX 827 kb)
11105_2018_1115_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Online Resource 2 Functional classes of differentially accumulated proteins of middle seeds versus top seeds imbibed for 0 h. (XLSX 16 kb)
11105_2018_1115_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
Online Resource 3 Functional classes of differentially accumulated proteins of middle seeds versus top seeds imbibed for 24 h. (XLSX 18 kb)
11105_2018_1115_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (21 kb)
Online Resource 4 Functional classes of differentially accumulated proteins of middle seeds versus top seeds imbibed for 48 h. (XLSX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Agronomy CollegeShandong Agricultural UniversityTaianChina

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