The Grass Leaf Developmental Gradient as a Platform for a Systems Understanding of the Anatomical Specialization of C(4) Leaves

J Exp Bot. 2011 May;62(9):3039-48. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err072. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


C(4) photosynthesis relies on spatial and quantitative specializations of common features of leaf anatomy, including venation pattern, bundle sheath cell and chloroplast differentiation, plasmodesmatal abundance, and secondary cell wall enhancement. It has thus far been challenging to dissect the molecular basis for these C(4)-specific alterations in spatial and quantitative patterns of regulation. The target downstream networks of genes and protein interactions that produce these fundamental anatomical features in both C(4) and C(3) species are poorly understood. The developing leaves of monocot grasses provide a base-to-tip gradient of developmental stages that can provide the platform for comprehensive molecular and anatomical data that can yield a better understanding both of the regulators and the targets that produce C(4) patterns, through a variety of gene discovery and systems analysis strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Photosynthesis / genetics
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Leaves / physiology*
  • Plasmodesmata / physiology
  • Poaceae / anatomy & histology
  • Poaceae / genetics
  • Poaceae / growth & development
  • Poaceae / physiology*
  • Transcriptome
  • Zea mays / anatomy & histology
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / physiology