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  2. C 4 photosynthesis is used by only three percent of all flowering plants, but explains a quarter of global primary production, including some of the worlds’ most important cereals and bioenergy grasses. Recent advances in our understanding of C 4 development can be attributed to the application of comparative transcriptomics approaches that has been fueled by high throughput sequencing. Global surveys of gene expression conducted between different developmental stages or on phylogenetically closely related C 3 and C 4 species are providing new insights into C 4 function, development and evolution. Importantly, through co-expression analysis and comparative genomics, these studiesmore » help define novel candidate genes that transcend traditional genetic screens. In this review, we briefly summarize the major findings from recent transcriptomic studies, compare and contrast these studies to summarize emerging consensus, and suggest new approaches to exploit the data. Lastly, we suggest using Setaria viridis as a model system to relieve a major bottleneck in genetic studies of C 4 photosynthesis, and discuss the challenges and new opportunities for future comparative transcriptomic studies.« less
  3. C 4 photosynthesis in grasses requires the coordinated movement of metabolites through two specialized leaf cell types, mesophyll (M) and bundle sheath (BS), to concentrate CO 2 around Rubisco. Despite the importance of transporters in this process, few have been identified or rigorously characterized. In maize (Zea mays), DCT2 has been proposed to function as a plastid-localizedmalate transporter and is preferentially expressed in BS cells. Here, we characterized the role of DCT2 in maize leaves using Activator-tagged mutant alleles. Our results indicate that DCT2 enables the transport of malate into the BS chloroplast. Isotopic labeling experiments show that the lossmore » of DCT2 results in markedly different metabolic network operation and dramatically reduced biomass production. In the absence of a functioning malate shuttle, dct2 lines survive through the enhanced use of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase carbon shuttle pathway that in wild-type maize accounts for ;25% of the photosynthetic activity. The results emphasize the importance of malate transport during C 4 photosynthesis, define the role of a primary malate transporter in BS cells, and support a model for carbon exchange between BS and M cells in maize.« less

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