Post-transcriptional regulation of photosynthetic genes is a key driver of C4 leaf ontogeny.

Fankhauser, Nicklaus; Aubry, Sylvain (2017). Post-transcriptional regulation of photosynthetic genes is a key driver of C4 leaf ontogeny. Journal of Experimental Botany, 68(2), pp. 137-146. Oxford University Press 10.1093/jxb/erw386

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C4 photosynthesis allows highly efficient carbon fixation that originates from tightly regulated anatomical and biochemical modifications of leaf architecture. Recent studies showed that leaf transcriptome modifications during leaf ontogeny of closely related C3 (Tarenaya hassleriana) and C4 (Gynandropsis gynandra) species within the Cleomaceae family existed but they did not identify any dedicated transcriptional networks or factors specifically driving C4 leaf ontogeny. RNAseq analysis provides a steady-state quantification of whole-cell mRNAs but does not allow any discrimination between transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes that may occur simultaneously during leaf ontogeny. Here we use exon-intron split analysis (EISA) to determine the extent to which transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes are involved in the regulation of gene expression between young and expanded leaves in both species. C4-specific changes in post-transcriptional regulation were observed for genes involved in the Calvin-Benson cycle and some photosystem components but not for C4 core-cycle genes. Overall, this study provides an unbiased genome-wide insight into the post-transcriptional mechanisms that regulate gene expression through the control of mRNA levels and could be central to the onset of C4 photosynthesis. This mechanism is cytosolic which implies cell-specific modifications of mRNA stability. Understanding this mechanism may be crucial when aiming to transform C3 crops into C4 crops.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > CTU Bern

UniBE Contributor:

Fankhauser, Niklaus




Oxford University Press




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2017 18:14

Last Modified:

15 Feb 2017 11:40

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

C4; Cleomaceae; EISA; leaf ontogeny; photosynthesis; post-transcription




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