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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


BACKGROUND: Maize mesophyll (M) cells play important roles in various biological processes such as photosynthesis II and secondary metabolism. Functional differentiation occurs during M-cell development, but the underlying mechanisms for regulating M-cell development are largely unknown. RESULTS: We conducted single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to profile transcripts in maize leaves. We then identified coregulated modules by analyzing the resulting pseudo-time-series data through gene regulatory network analyses. , , , and () families were highly expressed in the early stage, whereas () and families were highly expressed in the late stage of M-cell development. Construction of regulatory networks revealed that these transcript factor (TF) families, especially and , were the major players in the early and later stages of M-cell development, respectively. Integration of scRNA expression matrix with TF ChIP-seq and Hi-C further revealed regulatory interactions between these TFs and their targets. and were primarily expressed in the leaf bases and tips, respectively, and their targets were validated with protoplast-based ChIP-qPCR, with the binding sites of HSF1 being experimentally confirmed. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides evidence that several TF families, with the involvement of epigenetic regulation, play vital roles in the regulation of M-cell development in maize.

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Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/). Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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