Defining the developmental program leading to meiosis in maize

Science. 2019 Apr 5;364(6435):52-56. doi: 10.1126/science.aav6428.


In multicellular organisms, the entry into meiosis is a complex process characterized by increasing meiotic specialization. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we reconstructed the developmental program into maize male meiosis. A smooth continuum of expression stages before meiosis was followed by a two-step transcriptome reorganization in leptotene, during which 26.7% of transcripts changed in abundance by twofold or more. Analysis of cell-cycle gene expression indicated that nearly all pregerminal cells proliferate, eliminating a stem-cell model to generate meiotic cells. Mutants defective in somatic differentiation or meiotic commitment expressed transcripts normally present in early meiosis after a delay; thus, the germinal transcriptional program is cell autonomous and can proceed despite meiotic failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Pollen / cytology*
  • Pollen / growth & development*
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptome
  • Zea mays / cytology*
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / growth & development*