Rice is characterized by a broad range of metabolic and morphological adaptations to flooding, such as germination and mobilization of stored nutrients under submergence until seedlings reach the water surface to carry out photosynthesis, and sustainable growth of mature plants for long durations under partial submergence. The underlying mechanisms of the molecular basis of adaptation to anaerobic germination and seedling growth in rice are being uncovered. Induction of an ensemble of hydrolases to mobilize endosperm nutrient reserves is one of the key factors for successful germination and coleoptile elongation in rice under submergence. To compensate for reduced efficiency of Tricarboxylic Acid cycle and oxidative respiration in mitochondria under O2 deficient conditions, α-amylases play a central role in the hydrolysis of starch to provide sugar substrates for glycolysis and alcohol fermentation for generating ATP. We review the progress on the molecular mechanism regulating α-amylase expression that involves the integration of signals generated by the hormone gibberellin (GA), sugar starvation and O2 deprivation that results in germination and sustainable seedling growth in rice under anaerobic conditions. Comparisons are also made between dicots and monocots for the molecular mechanism of induction of genes involved in alcohol fermentation and sugar/O2 deficiency sensing system
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