Global transcriptome analysis of the maize (Zea mays L.) inbred line 08LF during leaf senescence initiated by pollination-prevention

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© 2017 Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. In maize (Zea mays), leaf senescence acts as a nutrient recycling process involved in proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids degradation and transport to the developing sink. However, the molecular mechanisms of pre-maturation associated with pollination-prevention remain unclear in maize. To explore global gene expression changes during the onset and progression of senescence in maize, the inbred line 08LF, with severe early senescence caused by pollination prevention, was selected. Phenotypic observation showed that the onset of leaf senescence of 08LF plants occurred approximately 14 days after silking (DAS) by pollination prevention. Transcriptional profiling analysis of the leaf at six developmental stages during induced senescence revealed that a total of 5,432 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, including 2314 up-regulated genes and 1925 down-regulated genes. Functional annotation showed that the up-regulated genes were mainly enriched in multi-organism process and nitrogen compound transport, whereas down-regulated genes were involved in photosynthesis. Expression patterns and pathway enrichment analyses of early-senescence related genes indicated that these DEGs are involved in complex regulatory networks, especially in the jasmonic acid pathway. In addition, transcription factors from several families were detected, particularly the CO-like, NAC, ERF, GRAS, WRKY and ZF-HD families, suggesting that these transcription factors might play important roles in driving leaf senescence in maize as a result of pollination-prevention.

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