Metabolite profiling reveals clear metabolic changes during somatic embryo development of Norway spruce (Picea abies)
Tree Physiol. 2012 , 32(2):232-244

Businge E, Brackmann K, Moritz T, Egertsdotter U


Progress on industrial-scale propagation of conifers by somatic embryogenesis has been hampered by the differences in developmental capabilities between cell lines, which are limiting the capture of genetic gains from breeding programs. In this study, we investigated the metabolic events occurring during somatic embryo development in Norway spruce to establish a better understanding of the fundamental metabolic events required for somatic embryo development. Three embryogenic cell lines of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) with different developmental capabilities were studied during somatic embryo development from proliferation of proembryogenic masses to mature somatic embryos. The three different cell lines displayed normal, aberrant and blocked somatic embryo development. Metabolite profiles from four development stages in each of the cell lines were obtained using combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Multivariate discriminant analyses of the metabolic data revealed significant metabolites (P  ≤  0.05) for each development stage and transition. The results suggest that endogenous auxin and sugar signaling affects initial stages of somatic embryo development. Furthermore, the results highlight the importance of a timed stress response and the presence of stimulatory metabolites during late stages of embryo development.

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