The developmental dynamics of the maize leaf transcriptome

Nat Genet. 2010 Dec;42(12):1060-7. doi: 10.1038/ng.703. Epub 2010 Oct 31.


We have analyzed the maize leaf transcriptome using Illumina sequencing. We mapped more than 120 million reads to define gene structure and alternative splicing events and to quantify transcript abundance along a leaf developmental gradient and in mature bundle sheath and mesophyll cells. We detected differential mRNA processing events for most maize genes. We found that 64% and 21% of genes were differentially expressed along the developmental gradient and between bundle sheath and mesophyll cells, respectively. We implemented Gbrowse, an electronic fluorescent pictograph browser, and created a two-cell biochemical pathway viewer to visualize datasets. Cluster analysis of the data revealed a dynamic transcriptome, with transcripts for primary cell wall and basic cellular metabolism at the leaf base transitioning to transcripts for secondary cell wall biosynthesis and C(4) photosynthetic development toward the tip. This dataset will serve as the foundation for a systems biology approach to the understanding of photosynthetic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Calibration
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Mesophyll Cells / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / genetics*
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development*
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / growth & development*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors