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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 29;6:30641. doi: 10.1038/srep30641.

Comparative proteomic analysis of the shoot apical meristem in maize between a ZmCCT-associated near-isogenic line and its recurrent parent.

Wu L1,2, Wang X3, Wang S1,2, Wu L1,2, Tian L1,2, Tian Z1,2, Liu P1,2, Chen Y1,2.

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Henan Agricultural University and Synergetic Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, Zhengzhou 450002, China.
Key Laboratory of Physiological Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Zhengzhou 450002, China.
Crop Designing Center, Henan Academy of Agricultural Science, Zhengzhou 450002, China.


The ZmCCT, one of the most important genes affecting photoperiod response, delays flowering under long-day conditions in maize (Zea mays). In this study we used the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) technique-based proteomics approach to identify differentially expressed proteins between a near-isogenic line (NIL) and its recurrent parent, contrasting in alleles of ZmCCT. A total of 5,259 distinct proteins were identified. Among them, 386 proteins were differentially expressed between NIL-cml line (ZmCCT-positive) and H4 line (ZmCCT-negative). Functional categorization showed that the differentially proteins were mainly involved in energy production, photosynthesis, signal transduction, and cell organization and biogenesis. Our results showed that during shoot apical meristem (SAM) development cell division proteins, carbohydrate metabolism-related proteins, and flower inhibition-related proteins were more abundant in the ZmCCT-positive line than the ZmCCT-negative line. These results, taken together with morphological observations, showed that the effect of ZmCCT on flowering might be caused by its effect on one or all of these biological processes. Although the exact roles of these putative related proteins remain to be examined, our results obtained using the proteomics approach lead to a better understanding of the photoperiodicity mechanism in maize plants.

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