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Accession IconSRP009063

Transcriptome profiling reveals regulatory and functional differentiation between maize mesophyll and bundle sheath cells

Organism Icon Zea mays
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Technology Badge IconIllumina Genome Analyzer IIx

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Maize, as a C4 plant, possesses two distinct types of photosynthetic cells, the mesophyll (M) and the bundle sheath (BS) cells. To elucidate their functional and regulatory differentiation we isolated large quantities of highly homogeneous M and BS cells from new mature leaves for transcriptome profiling by Illumina sequencing. More than 100,000,000 reads for each cell type were mapped to the maize genome, revealing 44,964 expressed genes. Among these, 37,105 genes were expressed in M cells, including 423 M-enriched genes and 20 M-enriched transcription factor (TF) genes, whereas 42,782 genes were expressed in BS cells, including 771 BS-enriched genes and 75 BS-enriched TF genes. Pathway analyses revealed cell differentiation in various cellular activities, with M cells playing more important roles in light reaction, protein synthesis, abiotic stress, tetrapyrrole synthesis and RNA-RNA binding, while BS cells specializing in transport, signaling, protein degradation, major C metabolism, and the Calvin cycle. Genes coding for enzymes and transporters involved in photosynthesis exhibit a strong cellular preference in expression. To a lesser extent, cell differentiation also occurs in genes involved in the metabolism of starch, sucrose, nitrogen, sulfur, amino acid, and secondary metabolites. This comprehensive dataset will be useful for studying the regulation and evolution of C4-specific and related genes.
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