Cell type-specific transcriptome analysis in the early Arabidopsis thaliana embryo

Development. 2014 Dec;141(24):4831-40. doi: 10.1242/dev.116459. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


In multicellular organisms, cellular differences in gene activity are a prerequisite for differentiation and establishment of cell types. In order to study transcriptome profiles, specific cell types have to be isolated from a given tissue or even the whole organism. However, whole-transcriptome analysis of early embryos in flowering plants has been hampered by their size and inaccessibility. Here, we describe the purification of nuclear RNA from early stage Arabidopsis thaliana embryos using fluorescence-activated nuclear sorting (FANS) to generate expression profiles of early stages of the whole embryo, the proembryo and the suspensor. We validated our datasets of differentially expressed candidate genes by promoter-reporter gene fusions and in situ hybridization. Our study revealed that different classes of genes with respect to biological processes and molecular functions are preferentially expressed either in the proembryo or in the suspensor. This method can be used especially for tissues with a limited cell population and inaccessible tissue types. Furthermore, we provide a valuable resource for research on Arabidopsis early embryogenesis.

Keywords: Fluorescence-activated nuclear sorting; Proembryo; Suspensor; Transcriptome analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / embryology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Genotype
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • RNA, Nuclear / isolation & purification*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seeds / metabolism*


  • RNA, Nuclear