Current Genetics

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 89–102 | Cite as

Developmental and cell type characterization of bundle sheath and mesophyll chloroplast transcript abundance in maize

  • Richard M. Sharpe
  • Aditya Mahajan
  • Elizabeth M. Takacs
  • David B. Stern
  • A. Bruce CahoonEmail author
Research Article


The C4 grass Zea mays separates light and light-independent photosynthetic processes into two leaf cell types: bundle sheath (BS) and mesophyll (M). When mature, BS and M cells have anatomically and biochemically distinct chloroplasts that must cooperate to complete the process of photosynthesis. This report compares changes in transcript abundance between young and mature maize BS and M chloroplasts from specific segments of the leaf developmental gradient. Representative transcripts encoding components of Photosystem I, Photosystem II, Cytochrome b 6 f, thylakoidal NADH dehydrogenase; and the large subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase as well as nine nuclear-coded transcripts encoding chloroplast proteins were measured using quantitative RT-PCR. In addition, 887 nuclear genes encoding plastid-localized proteins, as well as 64 chloroplast and 34 mitochondrial genes were assayed utilizing a cDNA microarray. In 9 out of the 18 chloroplast-encoded genes and 84 genes from the 985 element microarray revealed greater than twofold transcript abundance differences between developmental stages and/or cell types. Patterns for transcripts associated with operons and gene clusters suggest differing regulatory mechanisms for particular polycistronic stretches. In summary, this report provides evidence that cell type-specific transcript abundance varies more in the young developing chloroplast, and differences plateau or subside as chloroplasts mature.


Bundle sheath Mesophyll C4 photosynthesis Chloroplast Plastid 



The authors wish to thank Rebecca Seipelt and Matthew Elrod-Erickson of MTSU’s Department of Biology for helpful discussions and comments, MTSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Agriscience for use of their Horticulture House and Anushadevi Mohan for performing the vein density analysis. Gerald Edwards and his laboratory at Washington State University is acknowledged for the use of facilities and antibodies, and Sascha Offermann for his help and direction with immunoblot analysis. Work in the D.B.S. lab is supported by USDA-CREES award 2008-02867. Work in the A.B.C. lab was supported by MTSU’s graduate program in molecular biosciences. An MTSU Kurt E. Blum Botany Research Scholarship and Stephen M. Wright Research Scholarship were awarded to R.M.S.

Supplementary material

294_2010_329_MOESM1_ESM.docx (121 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Sharpe
    • 1
    • 3
  • Aditya Mahajan
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elizabeth M. Takacs
    • 2
    • 5
  • David B. Stern
    • 2
  • A. Bruce Cahoon
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboroUSA
  2. 2.Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant ResearchIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Program of Molecular Plant Science, School of Biological SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.Novus International, Inc.LincolnUSA
  5. 5.Department of Plant BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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