J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2021, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (4): 613-627.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13069

Special Issue: Development

• Invited Expert Review •     Next Articles

Maize endosperm development

Dawei Dai1,2, Zeyang Ma1 and Rentao Song1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, National Maize Improvement Center, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Joint International Research Laboratory of Crop Molecular Breeding, College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    2Shanghai Key Laboratory of Bio‐Energy Crops, Plant Science Center, School of Life Sciences, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China

    *Correspondence: Rentao Song (rentaosong@cau.edu.cn)
  • Received:2020-11-20 Accepted:2021-01-12 Online:2021-01-15 Published:2021-04-01

Abstract: Recent breakthroughs in transcriptome analysis and gene characterization have provided valuable resources and information about the maize endosperm developmental program. The high temporal‐resolution transcriptome analysis has yielded unprecedented access to information about the genetic control of seed development. Detailed spatial transcriptome analysis using laser‐capture microdissection has revealed the expression patterns of specific populations of genes in the four major endosperm compartments: the basal endosperm transfer layer (BETL), aleurone layer (AL), starchy endosperm (SE), and embryo‐surrounding region (ESR). Although the overall picture of the transcriptional regulatory network of endosperm development remains fragmentary, there have been some exciting advances, such as the identification of OPAQUE11 (O11) as a central hub of the maize endosperm regulatory network connecting endosperm development, nutrient metabolism, and stress responses, and the discovery that the endosperm adjacent to scutellum (EAS) serves as a dynamic interface for endosperm‐embryo crosstalk. In addition, several genes that function in BETL development, AL differentiation, and the endosperm cell cycle have been identified, such as ZmSWEET4c, Thk1, and Dek15, respectively. Here, we focus on current advances in understanding the molecular factors involved in BETL, AL, SE, ESR, and EAS development, including the specific transcriptional regulatory networks that function in each compartment during endosperm development.

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