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The germination of Arabidopsis seeds is promoted by gibberellin (GA). Arabidopsis GAI, and RGA are genes encoding key GA signal-transduction components (GAI and RGA) that mediate GA regulation of stem elongation. The Arabidopsis genome contains two further genes, RGL1 and RGL2, that encode proteins (RGL1 and RGL2) that are closely related to GAI and RGA. Here, we show that RGL2 regulates seed germination in response to GA, and that RGL1, GAI, and RGA do not. In addition, we show that RGL2 transcript levels rise rapidly following seed imbibition, and then decline rapidly as germination proceeds. In situ GUS staining revealed that RGL2 expression in imbibed seeds is restricted to elongating regions of pre-emergent and recently emerged radicles. These observations indicate that RGL2 is a negative regulator of GA responses that acts specifically to control seed germination rather than stem elongation. Furthermore, as RGL2 expression is imbibition inducible, RGL2 may function as an integrator of environmental and endogenous cues to control seed germination.

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We all take Spring for granted. The moment the first bouts of warmth hit the air, we fully expect to see the lawn duly mottled with daisies, leaves pushing their way into the nascent season and flowers blossoming wherever we care to look. And quite rightly...