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Transcriptomic Analysis of Leaf Sheath Maturation in Maize

College of Agronomy, Synergetic Innovation Centre of Henan Grain Crops and National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China
State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Agronomic Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, China
The Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology (ITBB), Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), Haikou 571101, China
Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2472;
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 19 May 2019
PDF [2870 KB, uploaded 19 May 2019]


The morphological development of the leaf greatly influences plant architecture and crop yields. The maize leaf is composed of a leaf blade, ligule and sheath. Although extensive transcriptional profiling of the tissues along the longitudinal axis of the developing maize leaf blade has been conducted, little is known about the transcriptional dynamics in sheath tissues, which play important roles in supporting the leaf blade. Using a comprehensive transcriptome dataset, we demonstrated that the leaf sheath transcriptome dynamically changes during maturation, with the construction of basic cellular structures at the earliest stages of sheath maturation with a transition to cell wall biosynthesis and modifications. The transcriptome again changes with photosynthesis and lignin biosynthesis at the last stage of sheath tissue maturation. The different tissues of the maize leaf are highly specialized in their biological functions and we identified 15 genes expressed at significantly higher levels in the leaf sheath compared with their expression in the leaf blade, including the BOP2 homologs GRMZM2G026556 and GRMZM2G022606, DOGT1 (GRMZM2G403740) and transcription factors from the B3 domain, C2H2 zinc finger and homeobox gene families, implicating these genes in sheath maturation and organ specialization. View Full-Text
Keywords: leaf sheath; maturation; transcriptional dynamics; transcriptome leaf sheath; maturation; transcriptional dynamics; transcriptome

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Dong, L.; Qin, L.; Dai, X.; Ding, Z.; Bi, R.; Liu, P.; Chen, Y.; Brutnell, T.P.; Wang, X.; Li, P. Transcriptomic Analysis of Leaf Sheath Maturation in Maize. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2472.

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