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The Populus Homeobox Gene ARBORKNOX2 Regulates Secondary Growth in trees

posted on 2024-06-11, 05:09 authored by Institute of Forest Genetics, USDA FOREST SERVICE
Currently little is known about the genetic mechanisms regulating the vascular cambium or the secondary growth of stems. We show here that the Populus Class I KNOX homeobox gene ARBORKNOX2 (ARK2) regulates both cell division in the cambium region and the differentiation of daughter cells in secondary xylem and phloem. ARK2 is expressed in the shoot apical meristem, and the vascular cambium region, reflecting some overlap in the regulation of these meristems. ARK2 is expressed broadly in the cambium region and in differentiating lignified cells types before becoming progressively restricted to the cambium. Populus overexpressing ARK2 present stem phenotypes with precocious cambium formation, delayed differentiation of cambium daughter cells, a wider cambium region, and ultimately less phloem fibers and secondary xylem. In contrast, Populus expressing RNAi or amicroRNA that target ARK2 transcripts present precocious differentiation of secondary phloem fibers and xylem, and ultimately more secondary xylem tissue and thicker secondary cell walls in phloem fibers and secondary xylem cells. These phenotypes in turn correlate with changes in the expression of genes affecting cell division, auxin, and cell wall synthesis and lignification that indicate that ARK2 primarily affects woody tissue development by regulation of cell differentiation. Notably, wood properties associated with secondary cell wall synthesis are negatively associated with ARK2 expression, including lignin and cellulose content. Together, our results suggest that ARK2 functions primarily by negatively regulating cell differentiation during secondary growth. We propose that ARK2 may identify a co-evolved regulatory module that influences complex wood properties relevant to ecological, industrial, and biofuels applications. Overall design: Gene expressions of three ARK2 overexpression transgenics plants and three ark2 artificial microRNA transgenics are detected with microarray. Gene expressions of four wild type plants sample are used as control.


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National Center for Biotechnology Information

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  • Non-geospatial

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  • biota

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transcriptome; gene expression

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  • Public

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It is recommended to cite the accession numbers that are assigned to data submissions, e.g. the GenBank, WGS or SRA accession numbers. If individual BioProjects need to be referenced, state that "The data have been deposited with links to BioProject accession number PRJNA115607 in the NCBI BioProject database ("

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