Role of Enhancers in Maize Leaf Development Gene Regulatory Networks (2019-2021)
Enhancers play a major role in regulating tissue-specific gene expression in higher eukaryotes, including angiosperms. While molecular characterization of enhancers has improved over the past years, identifying their target genes at the genome-wide scale remains challenging. Here, we integrate genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic data to decipher the tissue-specific gene regulatory network controlled by enhancers at two different stages of maize leaf development. Using a systems biology approach, we identify transcription factor families regulating gene tissue-specific expression in husk and seedling leaves, and we characterize the enhancers that are likely to be involved. We show that a large part of maize enhancers are derived from transposable elements, which can provide novel transcription factor binding sites crucial to the regulation of tissue-specific biological functions.