Transcriptome analysis reveals the mechanism of internode development affecting maize stalk strength

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Abstract

Background: The stalk rind is one of the important factors affecting maize stalk strength that is closely related to stalk lodging. However, the mechanism of rind development in maize is still largely unknown. Results: In this study, we analyzed the mechanical, anatomical, and biochemical properties of the third basal internode in one maize non-stiff-stalk (NSS) line and two stiff-stalk (SS) lines. Compared with the NSS line, the two SS lines had a significantly higher rind penetrometer resistance, thicker rind, and higher dry matter, hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin weights per unit length. RNA-seq analysis was used to compare transcriptomes of the third basal internode of the two SS lines and the NSS line at the ninth leaf and tasseling stages. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis revealed that genes involved in hydrolase activity (hydrolyzing O-glycosyl compounds) and cytoskeleton organization were significantly up-regulated in the two SS lines at the ninth leaf stage and that microtubule process-related genes were significantly up-regulated in the two SS lines at the tasseling stage. Moreover, the two SS lines had enhanced expression of cell wall metabolism-related genes at the tasseling stage. Conclusions: The synthesis of cell wall polysaccharides and the cytoskeleton might play important roles in internode development. Our results can be applied for screening lodging-resistant inbred lines and breeding lodging-resistant cultivars in maize.

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Xie, L., Wen, D., Wu, C., & Zhang, C. (2022). Transcriptome analysis reveals the mechanism of internode development affecting maize stalk strength. BMC Plant Biology, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-022-03435-w

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