, Volume 227, Issue 2, pp 319–329 | Cite as

A majority of cotton genes are expressed in single-celled fiber

  • Ran Hovav
  • Joshua A. Udall
  • Einat Hovav
  • Ryan Rapp
  • Lex Flagel
  • Jonathan F. Wendel
Original Article


Multicellular eukaryotes contain a diversity of cell types, presumably differing from one another in the suite of genes expressed during development. At present, little is known about the proportion of the genome transcribed in most cell types, nor the degree to which global patterns of expression change during cellular differentiation. To address these questions in a model plant system, we studied the unique and highly exaggerated single-celled, epidermal seed trichomes (“cotton”) of cultivated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). By taking advantage of advances in expression profiling and microarray technology, we evaluated the transcriptome of cotton fibers across a developmental time-course, from a few days post-anthesis through primary and secondary wall synthesis stages. Comparisons of gene expression in populations of developing cotton fiber cells to genetically complex reference samples derived from 6 different cotton organs demonstrated that a remarkably high proportion of the cotton genome is transcribed, with 75–94% of the total genome transcribed at each stage. Compared to the reference samples, more than half of all genes were up-regulated during at least one stage of fiber development. These genes were clustered into seven groups of expression profiles that provided new insight into biological processes governing fiber development. Genes implicated in vesicle coating and trafficking were found to be overexpressed throughout all stages of fiber development studied, indicating their important role in maintaining rapid growth of this unique plant cell.


Cotton Gossypium hirsutum Fiber Single-cell Microarray Vesicle coating proteins 



Days Post Anthesis


False Discovery Rates


Soluble NSF attachment protein receptor



R.H., J.A.U., and J.F.W. conceptualized the experiment. R.H. managed the bench experiments and the data analysis. EH conducted part of the bench experiments. J.A.U., L.F., and R.R. contributed to data analysis. All authors assisted in drafting the manuscript. The authors thank Ryan Percifield for technical assistance, Alan Gingle for database management, Prof. Candace Haigler for help in secondary cell microscopic observations and the US National Science Foundation Plant Genome Program for financial support.

Supplementary material

425_2007_619_MOESM1_ESM.tif (111 kb)
[e6](TIF 111 kb)
425_2007_619_MOESM2_ESM.xls (1.4 mb)
EST ID, Highest Blast hits, Least Square means of the difference between each stage (2,7,10,20,25) and the reference sample, and the standard error for all genes up-regulated in the fiber. Genes in the table are divided according to the cluster analysis. For additional information please see (XLS 1398 kb)
425_2007_619_MOESM3_ESM.doc (442 kb)
(DOC 441 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ran Hovav
    • 1
  • Joshua A. Udall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Einat Hovav
    • 1
  • Ryan Rapp
    • 1
  • Lex Flagel
    • 1
  • Jonathan F. Wendel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal BiologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Animal ScienceBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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