The whole-genomic gene-expression changes of maize (Zea mays L.) plants in response to water-deficit stress at the heading stage have not been previously studied. The present work utilized a maize oligonucleotide array (‘57K’, ~57000 sequences; representing more than 30000 unique genes, to profile transcriptome changes in maize leaves subjected to 1d (day) and 7d water-deficit stress. After 1d and 7d water-stress treatment, 195 and 1008 differential genes were identified respectively. One-third of 1d-water-stress-induced genes had known or putative functions in various cellular signalling pathways, indicating that signal-transduction-related genes play important roles in the early responses of maize leaves to water stress. The 7d-stress-regulated genes were involved in a broad range of cellular and biochemical activities. The most notable genes may function in compatible osmolyte metabolism, particularly in proline, sucrose, trehalose and raffinose metabolism in the leaves. The present study provided a valuable starting point for further elucidation of molecular mechanisms in the drought tolerance of maize plants.

You do not currently have access to this content.