The aim of the study was to obtain an insight into amino acid and storage protein metabolism in the developing barley grain at the molecular level. Our strategy was to analyse the transcriptome of relevant pathways in developing grains of field grown barley using a grain specific microarray assembled in our laboratory. To identify coregulated genes, a distance matrix was constructed and we identified three clusters corresponding to the early, middle and late seed development. The gene expression pattern associated with the clusters was investigated using pathway specific analysis with specific reference to the temporal expression levels of a range of genes involved in the photosynthesis process, amino acid and storage protein metabolism. We conclude that the grain specific microarray is a reliable and cost-effective tool for monitoring temporal changes in the transcriptome of the major metabolic pathways in the barley grain. The study described here could provide a strong complement to existing knowledge assisting further understanding of seed development and thereby provide a foundation for plant breeding towards storage protein with improved nutritional quality.
International Scientific Conference Development of Plant Breeding and Crop Management in Time and Space: Programme and Abstracts, 2008