Regulation of Early Endosperm Development in Maize

  • Yadegari, Ramin R. (PI)
  • Larkins, Brian A. (CoPI)
  • Drews, Gary N. (CoPI)
  • Dannenhoffer, Joanne (CoPI)
  • Clore, Amy M. (CoPI)

Grant Details




PI: Ramin Yadegari (University of Arizona)

CoPIs: Amy Clore (New College of Florida), Joanne Dannehoffer (Central Michigan University), Gary Drews (University of Utah) and Brian Larkins (University of Nebraska)

The goal of this research project is to understand the gene networks that control endosperm development and function in maize. The endosperm of the seed is biologically and economically important. More than 50% of the calories in the human diet originate from cereal endosperm, which also serves as a raw material for manufacturing numerous industrial products. Early endosperm development in maize, the period between 0 and 8 days after pollination, encompasses the time when the endosperm grows from a single cell into a multicellular structure composed of different cell types. Although the molecular mechanisms that control this period of development in maize have not been elucidated, they are likely to affect many important processes, including embryo nutrition, starch and storage protein accumulation during grain filling, and seed maturation. In this project a network of maize transcription factors expressed during early endosperm development will be identified, and their temporal and spatial expression patterns will be determined. The function of a subset of these genes will be characterized in maize and Arabidopsis plants. In addition, the cytological patterns of early endosperm development will be described in a diverse set of maize inbred lines. These inbreds are currently being genetically and phenotypically characterized by a large number of laboratories, and these data will make it possible to evaluate the importance of the identified genes to a variety of grain quality traits.

The broader educational impacts of this project will enhance the infrastructure of research and training at all the participating institutions through the continued instruction of undergraduate and graduate students and training of postdoctoral researchers. A significant component of the proposed research will involve faculty members at institutions with predominately (Central Michigan University CMU) or exclusively (New College of Florida NCF) undergraduate populations. Student researchers from CMU and NCF will have an opportunity to spend a summer each year at the University of Arizona and the University of Utah for further training and education. Undergraduate researchers will be recruited from the classroom, local community colleges, and underrepresented student populations at all institutions. In addition, an important goal of the project is to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in science and to communicate science through outreach to K-12 teachers and to nonscientists. The scientific and educational outcomes of this project will be disseminated through the project website and Gramene (

Effective start/end date09/15/0908/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $4,931,804.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.