J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2014, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (11): 1042-1052.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12205

• Molecular Physiology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Identification and characterization of Argonaute gene family and meiosis-enriched Argonaute during sporogenesis in maize

Lihong Zhai, Wei Sun, Ke Zhang, Haitao Jia, Lei Liu, Zhijie Liu, Feng Teng and Zuxin Zhang*   

  1. National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China


Argonaute (AGO) proteins play a key role in regulation of gene expression through small RNA-directed RNA cleavage and translational repression, and are essential for multiple developmental processes. In the present study, 17 AGO genes of maize (Zea mays L., ZmAGOs) were identified using a Hidden Markov Model and validated by rapid amplification of cDNA ends assay. Subsequently, quantitative PCR revealed that expressions of these genes were higher in reproductive than in vegetative tissues. AGOs presented five temporal and spatial expression patterns, which were likely modulated by DNA methylation, 5′-untranslated exons and microRNA-mediated feedback loops. Intriguingly, ZmAGO18b was highly expressed in tassels during meiosis. Furthermore, in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence showed that ZmAGO18b was enriched in the tapetum and germ cells in meiotic anthers. We hypothesized that ZmAGOs are highly expressed in reproductive tissues, and that ZmAGO18b is a tapetum and germ cell-specific member of the AGO family in maize.


 Zhai L, Sun W, Zhang K, Jia H, Liu L, Liu Z, Teng F, Zhang Z (2014) Identification and characterization of Argonaute gene family and meiosis‐enriched Argonaute during sporogenesis in maize. J Integr Plant Biol 56: 1042–1052. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12205

Key words: Anther, Argonaute, gene expression, immunochemistry, meiosis

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