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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression patterns of TEL genes in Poaceae suggest a conserved association with cell differentiation.

Poaceae species present a conserved distichous phyllotaxy (leaf position along the stem) and share common properties with respect to leaf initiation. The goal of this work was to determine if these common traits imply common genes. Therefore, homologues of the maize TERMINAL EAR1 gene in Poaceae were studied. This gene encodes an RNA-binding motif ( RRM) protein, that is suggested to regulate leaf initiation. Using degenerate primers, one unique tel (terminal ear1-like) gene from seven Poaceae members, covering almost all the phylogenetic tree of the family, was identified by PCR. These genes present a very high degree of similarity, a much conserved exon-intron structure, and the three RRMs and TEL characteristic motifs. The evolution of tel sequences in Poaceae strongly correlates with the known phylogenetic tree of this family. RT-PCR gene expression analyses show conserved tel expression in the shoot apex in all species, suggesting functional orthology between these genes. In addition, in situ hybridization experiments with specific antisense probes show tel transcript accumulation in all differentiating cells of the leaf, from the recruitment of leaf founder cells to leaf margins cells. Tel expression is not restricted to initiating leaves as it is also found in pro-vascular tissues, root meristems, and immature inflorescences. Therefore, these results suggest that TEL is not only associated with leaf initiation but more generally with cell differentiation in Poaceae.[1]


  1. Expression patterns of TEL genes in Poaceae suggest a conserved association with cell differentiation. Paquet, N., Bernadet, M., Morin, H., Traas, J., Dron, M., Charon, C. J. Exp. Bot. (2005) [Pubmed]
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