Open Access Research article

Global transcriptome analysis of two ameiotic1 alleles in maize anthers: defining steps in meiotic entry and progression through prophase I

Guo-Ling Nan1*, Arnaud Ronceret2, Rachel C Wang23, John F Fernandes1, W Zacheus Cande2 and Virginia Walbot1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

2 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

3 Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology (IPMB), Academia Sinica, Taipei, 11529, Taiwan

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Citation and License

BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11:120  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-120

Published: 26 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Developmental cues to start meiosis occur late in plants. Ameiotic1 (Am1) encodes a plant-specific nuclear protein (AM1) required for meiotic entry and progression through early prophase I. Pollen mother cells (PMCs) remain mitotic in most am1 mutants including am1-489, while am1-praI permits meiotic entry but PMCs arrest at the leptotene/zygotene (L/Z) transition, defining the roles of AM1 protein in two distinct steps of meiosis. To gain more insights into the roles of AM1 in the transcriptional pre-meiotic and meiotic programs, we report here an in depth analysis of gene expression alterations in carefully staged anthers at 1 mm (meiotic entry) and 1.5 mm (L/Z) caused by each of these am1 alleles.

Results

1.0 mm and 1.5 mm anthers of am1-489 and am1-praI were profiled in comparison to fertile siblings on Agilent® 4 × 44 K microarrays. Both am1-489 and am1-praI anthers are cytologically normal at 1.0 mm and show moderate transcriptome alterations. At the 1.5-mm stage both mutants are aberrant cytologically, and show more drastic transcriptome changes. There are substantially more absolute On/Off and twice as many differentially expressed genes (sterile versus fertile) in am1-489 than in am1-praI. At 1.5 mm a total of 4,418 genes are up- or down-regulated in either am1-489 or am1-praI anthers. These are predominantly stage-specific transcripts. Many putative meiosis-related genes were found among them including a small subset of allele-specific, mis-regulated genes specific to the PMCs. Nearly 60% of transcriptome changes in the set of transcripts mis-regulated in both mutants (N = 530) are enriched in PMCs, and only 1% are enriched in the tapetal cell transcriptome. All array data reported herein will be deposited and accessible at MaizeGDB http://www.maizegdb.org/ webcite.

Conclusions

Our analysis of anther transcriptome modulations by two distinct am1 alleles, am1-489 and am1-praI, redefines the role of AM1 as a modulator of expression of a subset of meiotic genes, important for meiotic progression and provided stage-specific insights into the genetic networks associated with meiotic entry and early prophase I progression.

Keywords:
meiosis; meiocytes; transcriptomes; leptotene/zygotene transition; pollen mother cells