Organellar genome copy number variation and integrity during moderate maturation of roots and leaves of maize seedlings.

Ma, J. and Li, X.-Q. (2015). "Organellar genome copy number variation and integrity during moderate maturation of roots and leaves of maize seedlings.", Current Genetics, 61(4), pp. 591-600. doi : 10.1007/s00294-015-0482-1  Access to full text

Abstract

Little information is available about organellar genome copy numbers and integrity in plant roots, although it was reported recently that the plastid and mitochondrial genomes were damaged under light, resulting in non-functional fragments in green seedling leaves in a maize line. In the present study, we investigated organellar genome copy numbers and integrity, after assessing the cellular ploidy, in seedling leaves and roots of two elite maize (Zea mays) cultivars using both long-fragment polymerase chain reaction (long-PCR) and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR, a type of short-PCR). Since maize leaf and root cells are mainly diploid according to chromosome number counting and the literature, the DNA amount ratio between the organellar genomes and the nuclear genome could be used to estimate average organellar genome copy numbers per cell. In the present study, both long-PCR and qPCR analyses found that green leaves had dramatically more plastid DNA and less mitochondrial DNA than roots had in both cultivars. The similarity in results from long-PCR and qPCR suggests that green leaves and roots during moderate maturation have largely intact plastid and mitochondrial genomes. The high resolution of qPCR led to the detection of an increase in copies in the plastid genome and a decrease in copies in the analyzed mitochondrial sub-genomes during the moderate maturation of seedling leaves and roots. These results suggest that green seedling leaves and roots of these two maize cultivars during moderate maturation had essentially intact organellar genomes, an increased copy number of the plastid genome, and decreased copy numbers of certain mitochondrial sub-genomes.

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