The dynamics of transcript abundance during cellularization of developing barley endosperm

Runxuan Zhang, Matthew R. Tucker, Rachel A. Burton, Neil J. Shirley, Alan Little, Jenny Morris, Linda Milne, Kelly Houston, Pete E. Hedley, Robbie Waugh, Geoffrey B. Fincher (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


Within the cereal grain, the endosperm and its nutrient reserves are critical for successful germination and in the context of grain utilization. The identification of molecular determinants of early endosperm development, particularly regulators of cell division and cell wall deposition, would help predict end-use properties such as yield, quality, and nutritional value. Custom microarray data have been generated using RNA isolated from developing barley grain endosperm 3 d to 8 d after pollination (DAP). Comparisons of transcript abundance over time revealed 47 gene expression modules that can be clustered into 10 broad groups. Superimposing these modules upon cytological data allowed patterns of transcript abundance to be linked with key stages of early grain development. Here, attention was focused on how the datasets could be mined to explore and define the processes of cell wall biosynthesis, remodeling, and degradation. Using a combination of spatial molecular network and gene ontology enrichment analyses, it is shown that genes involved in cell wall metabolism are found in multiple modules, but cluster into two main groups that exhibit peak expression at 3 DAP to 4 DAP and 5 DAP to 8 DAP. The presence of transcription factor genes in these modules allowed candidate genes for the control of wall metabolism during early barley grain development to be identified. The data are publicly available through a dedicated web interface (, where they can be used to interrogate co- and differential expression for any other genes, groups of genes, or transcription factors expressed during early endosperm development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1565
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Genetics
  • Physiology


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