Allele-specific expression patterns reveal biases and embryo-specific parent-of-origin effects in hybrid maize

Nathan M. Springer, Robert M. Stupar

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130 Scopus citations


We employed allele-specific expression (ASE) analyses to document biased allelic expression in maize (Zea mays). A set of 316 quantitative ASE assays were used to profile the relative allelic expression in seedling tissue derived from five maize hybrids. The different hybrids included in this study exhibit a range of heterosis levels; however, we did not observe differences in the frequencies of allelic bias. Allelic biases in gene expression were consistently observed for ∼50% of the genes assayed in hybrid seedlings. The relative proportion of genes that exhibit cis- or trans-acting regulatory variation was very similar among the different genotypes. The cis-acting regulatory variation was more prevalent and resulted in greater expression differences than trans-acting regulatory variation for these genes. The ASE assays were further used to compare the relative expression of the B73 and Mo17 alleles in three tissue types (seedling, immature ear, and embryo) derived from reciprocal hybrids. These comparisons provided evidence for tissue-specific cis-acting variation and for a slight maternal expression bias in ∼20% of genes in embryo tissue. Collectively, these data provide evidence for prevalent cis-acting regulatory variation that contributes to biased allelic expression between genotypes and between tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2391-2402
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


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