Comparative analyses of C4 and C3 photosynthesis in developing leaves of maize and rice

Wang L, Czedik-Eysenberg A, Mertz RA, Si Y, Tohge T, Nunes-Nesi A, Arrivault S, Dedow LK, Bryant DW, Zhou W, Xu J, Weissmann S, Studer A, Li P, Zhang C, LaRue T, Shao Y, Ding Z, Sun Q, Patel RV, Turgeon R, Zhu X, Provart NJ, Mockler TC, Fernie AR, Stitt M, Liu P, Brutnell TP

Nat. Biotechnol. 2014 Oct;

PMID: 25306245


C4 and C3 photosynthesis differ in the efficiency with which they consume water and nitrogen. Engineering traits of the more efficient C4 photosynthesis into C3 crops could substantially increase crop yields in hot, arid conditions. To identify differences between C4 and C3 photosynthetic mechanisms, we profiled metabolites and gene expression in the developing leaves of Zea mays (maize), a C4 plant, and Oryza sativa (rice), a C3 plant, using a statistical method named the unified developmental model (UDM). Candidate cis-regulatory elements and transcription factors that might regulate photosynthesis were identified, together with differences between C4 and C3 nitrogen and carbon metabolism. The UDM algorithms could be applied to analyze and compare development in other species. These data sets together with community viewers to access and mine them provide a resource for photosynthetic research that will inform efforts to engineer improvements in carbon fixation in economically valuable grass crops.