Analysis of nonadditive protein accumulation in young primary roots of a maize (Zea mays L.) F1-hybrid compared to its parental inbred lines



Heterosis describes the superior performance of heterozygous F1-hybrids compared to their homozygous parental inbred lines. Heterosis is already manifested during early maize (Zea mays L.) primary root development. In this study, the most abundant soluble proteins have been investigated before the phenotypic manifestation of heterosis in 3.5-day-old primary roots in the flint inbred line UH002, the dent inbred line UH301 and the corresponding hybrid UH301×UH002. In CBB-stained 2-DE gels, 150 of 304 detected proteins (49%) were accumulated in a nonadditive fashion in the hybrid compared to the average of their parental inbred lines (Student's t-test: p < 0.05). Remarkably, expression of 51% (76/150) of the nonadditively accumulated proteins exceeded the high parent or was below the low parent. ESI-MS/MS identified 75 of the 76 proteins that belonged to these expression classes. The most abundant functional classes among the 75 proteins that were encoded by 60 different genes were metabolism (58%) and disease and defense (19%). Nonadditive protein accumulation in primary roots of maize hybrids might be associated with heterosis manifestation. Identification of these proteins could therefore contribute to the better understanding of the molecular basis of heterosis.