Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Basil J. Nikolau


Our understanding of how metabolic networks are structured and regulated is limited by the multicellular nature of plants. This complexity can be partly addressed through transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. However, these –omics platforms are limited by the dynamic nature of the metabolic networks, and by the techniques administered which utilize homogenized cells/tissues thereby losing spatial information. This limitation can be partially overcome by the use of more sophisticated analytical technologies, such as mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). This dissertation applies high-resolution MSI, using matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) and electrospray laser desorption ionization (ELDI), as tools to decipher metabolite trafficking in plant cells inorder to elucidate complex metabolic processes that are distributed among different cell types and different cellular compartments.

MSI coupled with other analytical mass spectrometry technologies; gas- and liquid- chromatography (GC-/ LC-), is used to address four biological applications pertaining to maize germination, C4 photosynthesis, anthocyanin distribution in response to external stimuli, and epicuticular lipid accumulation in developing Arabidopsis flowers. Furthermore, this dissertation uses transgenic approaches (in Arabidopsis and yeast) together with mass spectrometry technologies to functionally characterize the role of two maize genes; Glossy2 and a novel Glossy2-like, in epicuticular lipid biosynthesis.

Copyright Owner




File Format


File Size

335 pages

Available for download on Sunday, February 07, 2021