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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Genome-wide transcriptome analysis of gametophyte development in Physcomitrella patens

Lihong Xiao1, Hui Wang1, Ping Wan1, Tingyun Kuang2 and Yikun He1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Life Science, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100048, P. R. China

2 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, P. R. China

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BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11:177  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-177

Published: 15 December 2011



Regulation of gene expression plays a pivotal role in controlling the development of multicellular plants. To explore the molecular mechanism of plant developmental-stage transition and cell-fate determination, a genome-wide analysis was undertaken of sequential developmental time-points and individual tissue types in the model moss Physcomitrella patens because of the short life cycle and relative structural simplicity of this plant.


Gene expression was analyzed by digital gene expression tag profiling of samples taken from P. patens protonema at 3, 14 and 24 days, and from leafy shoot tissues at 30 days, after protoplast isolation, and from 14-day-old caulonemal and chloronemal tissues. In total, 4333 genes were identified as differentially displayed. Among these genes, 4129 were developmental-stage specific and 423 were preferentially expressed in either chloronemal or caulonemal tissues. Most of the differentially displayed genes were assigned to functions in organic substance and energy metabolism or macromolecule biosynthetic and catabolic processes based on gene ontology descriptions. In addition, some regulatory genes identified as candidates might be involved in controlling the developmental-stage transition and cell differentiation, namely MYB-like, HB-8, AL3, zinc finger family proteins, bHLH superfamily, GATA superfamily, GATA and bZIP transcription factors, protein kinases, genes related to protein/amino acid methylation, and auxin, ethylene, and cytokinin signaling pathways.


These genes that show highly dynamic changes in expression during development in P. patens are potential targets for further functional characterization and evolutionary developmental biology studies.