A maize database resource that captures tissue-specific and subcellular-localized gene expression, via fluorescent tags and confocal imaging (Maize Cell Genomics Database)
Krishnakumar V, Choi Y, Beck E, Wu Q, Luo A, Sylvester A, Jackson D, Chan AP
Maize is a global crop and a powerful system among grain crops for genetic and genomic studies. However, the development of novel biological tools and resources to aid in the functional identification of gene sequences is greatly needed. Towards this goal, we have developed a collection of maize marker lines for studying native gene expression in specific cell types and subcellular compartments using fluorescent proteins (FPs). To catalog FP expression, we have developed a public repository, the Maize Cell Genomics (MCG) Database, (http://maize.jcvi.org/cellgenomics), to organize a large data set of confocal images generated from the maize marker lines. To date, the collection represents major subcellular structures and also developmentally important progenitor cell populations. The resource is available to the research community, for example to study protein localization or interactions under various experimental conditions or mutant backgrounds. A subset of the marker lines can also be used to induce misexpression of target genes through a transactivation system. For future directions, the image repository can be expanded to accept new image submissions from the research community, and to perform customized large-scale computational image analysis. This community resource will provide a suite of new tools for gaining biological insights by following the dynamics of protein expression at the subcellular, cellular and tissue levels.