Comparison of meiotic transcriptomes of three maize inbreds with different origins reveals differences in cell cycle and recombination

Nelson Garcia, Lu Yin, Stefanie Dukowic-Schulze, Claire Milsted, Penny M.A. Kianian, Shahryar Kianian, Wojciech P. Pawlowski, Changbin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cellular events during meiosis can differ between inbred lines in maize. Substantial differences in the average numbers of chiasmata and double-strand breaks (DSBs) per meiotic cell have been documented among diverse inbred lines of maize: CML228, a tropical maize inbred line, B73 and Mo17, temperate maize lines. To determine if gene expression might explain these observed differences, an RNA-Seq experiment was performed on CML228 male meiocytes which was compared to B73 and Mo17 male meiocytes, where plants were grown in the same controlled environment. Results: We found that a few DSB-repair/meiotic genes which promote class I crossovers (COs) and the Zyp1 gene which limits newly formed class I COs were up-regulated, whereas Mus81 homolog 2 which promotes class II COs was down-regulated in CML228. Although we did not find enriched gene ontology (GO) categories directly related to meiosis, we found that GO categories in membrane, localization, proteolysis, energy processes were up-regulated in CML228, while chromatin remodeling, epigenetic regulation, and cell cycle related processes including meiosis related cell cycle processes were down-regulated in CML228. The degree of similarity in expression patterns between the three maize lines reflect their genetic relatedness: B73 and Mo17 had similar meiotic expressions and CML228 had a more distinct expression profile. Conclusions: We found that meiotic related genes were mostly conserved among the three maize inbreds except for a few DSB-repair/meiotic genes. The findings that the molecular players in limiting class I CO formation (once CO assurance is achieved) were up-regulated and those involved in promoting class II CO formation were down-regulated in CML228 agree with the lower chiasmata number observed in CML228 previously. In addition, epigenetics such as chromatin remodeling and histone modification might play a role. Transport and energy-related processes was up-regulated and Cyclin13 was down-regulated in CML228. The direction of gene expression of these processes agree with that previously found in meiotic tissues compared with vegetative tissues. In summary, we used different natural maize inbred lines from different climatic conditions and have shown their differences in expression landscape in male meiocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number702
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Crossover (CO)
  • Double strand break (DSB)
  • Gene expression patterns
  • Maize
  • Meiocytes
  • Meiosis
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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