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Open Access Research article

Transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of maize embryos exposed to camptothecin

Nuria Sánchez-Pons, Sami Irar, Nora García-Muniz and Carlos M Vicient*

Author Affiliations

Department of Molecular Genetics, Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics, Campus UAB, Edifici CRAG, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallés), 08193 Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11:91  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-91

Published: 19 May 2011



Camptothecin is a plant alkaloid that specifically binds topoisomerase I, inhibiting its activity and inducing double stranded breaks in DNA, activating the cell responses to DNA damage and, in response to severe treatments, triggering cell death.


Comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of maize embryos that had been exposed to camptothecin were conducted. Under the conditions used in this study, camptothecin did not induce extensive degradation in the genomic DNA but induced the transcription of genes involved in DNA repair and repressed genes involved in cell division. Camptothecin also affected the accumulation of several proteins involved in the stress response and induced the activity of certain calcium-dependent nucleases. We also detected changes in the expression and accumulation of different genes and proteins involved in post-translational regulatory processes.


This study identified several genes and proteins that participate in DNA damage responses in plants. Some of them may be involved in general responses to stress, but others are candidate genes for specific involvement in DNA repair. Our results open a number of new avenues for researching and improving plant resistance to DNA injury.