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Within the maize leaf primordium, coordinated cell division and differentiation patterns result in the development of two morphologically and biochemically distinct photosynthetic cell types, the bundle sheath and the mesophyll. The bundle sheath defective2-mutable1 (bsd2-m1) mutation specifically disrupts C4 differentiation in bundle sheath cells in that the levels of bundle sheath cell-specific photosynthetic enzymes are reduced and the bundle sheath chloroplast structure is aberrant. In contrast, mesophyll cell-specific enzymes accumulate to normal levels, and the mesophyll cell chloroplast structure is not perturbed. Throughout mutant leaf development, the large and small subunits of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase are absent; however, both rbcL and RbcS transcripts accumulate. Moreover, chloroplast-encoded rbcL transcripts accumulate ectopically in mesophyll cells. Although the bundle sheath cell chloroplast structure deteriorates rapidly when plants are exposed to light, this deterioration is most likely a secondary effect resulting from cell-specific photooxidative damage. Therefore, we propose that the Bsd2 gene plays a direct role in the post-transcriptional control of rbcL transcript accumulation and/or translation, both in bundle sheath and mesophyll cells, and an indirect role in the maintenance of bundle sheath cell chloroplast structure.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant Cell

Publication Date





915 - 927