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Plant Biotechnol J. 2010 Feb;8(2):112-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2009.00463.x. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Transgenic maize lines with cell-type specific expression of fluorescent proteins in plastids.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Abstract

Plastid number and morphology vary dramatically between cell types and at different developmental stages. Furthermore, in C4 plants such as maize, chloroplast ultrastructure and biochemical functions are specialized in mesophyll and bundle sheath cells, which differentiate acropetally from the proplastid form in the leaf base. To develop visible markers for maize plastids, we have created a series of stable transgenics expressing fluorescent proteins fused to either the maize ubiquitin promoter, the mesophyll-specific phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PepC) promoter, or the bundle sheath-specific Rubisco small subunit 1 (RbcS) promoter. Multiple independent events were examined and revealed that maize codon-optimized versions of YFP and GFP were particularly well expressed, and that expression was stably inherited. Plants carrying PepC promoter constructs exhibit YFP expression in mesophyll plastids and the RbcS promoter mediated expression in bundle sheath plastids. The PepC and RbcS promoter fusions also proved useful for identifying plastids in organs such as epidermis, silks, roots and trichomes. These tools will inform future plastid-related studies of wild-type and mutant maize plants and provide material from which different plastid types may be isolated.

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