Wood Formation under Severe Drought Invokes Adjustment of the Hormonal and Transcriptional Landscape in Poplar

2021 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Yu, Dade, et al. "Wood Formation under Severe Drought Invokes Adjustment of the Hormonal and Transcriptional Landscape in Poplar​." ​International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 22, no. 18, ​2021, p. 9899​, ​doi: 10.3390/ijms22189899. 

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Authors
Yu, Dade; Janz, Dennis ; Zienkiewicz, Krzysztof; Herrfurth, Cornelia ; Feussner, Ivo ; Chen, Shaoliang; Polle, Andrea 
Abstract
Drought is a severe environmental stress that exerts negative effects on plant growth. In trees, drought leads to reduced secondary growth and altered wood anatomy. The mechanisms underlying wood stress adaptation are not well understood. Here, we investigated the physiological, anatomical, hormonal, and transcriptional responses of poplar to strong drought. Drought-stressed xylem was characterized by higher vessel frequencies, smaller vessel lumina, and thicker secondary fiber cell walls. These changes were accompanied by strong increases in abscisic acid (ABA) and antagonistic changes in salicylic acid in wood. Transcriptional evidence supported ABA biosynthesis and signaling in wood. Since ABA signaling activates the fiber-thickening factor NST1, we expected upregulation of the secondary cell wall (SCW) cascade under stress. By contrast, transcription factors and biosynthesis genes for SCW formation were down-regulated, whereas a small set of cellulose synthase-like genes and a huge array of genes involved in cell wall modification were up-regulated in drought-stressed wood. Therefore, we suggest that ABA signaling monitors normal SCW biosynthesis and that drought causes a switch from normal to “stress wood” formation recruiting a dedicated set of genes for cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling. This proposition implies that drought-induced changes in cell wall properties underlie regulatory mechanisms distinct from those of normal wood.
Drought is a severe environmental stress that exerts negative effects on plant growth. In trees, drought leads to reduced secondary growth and altered wood anatomy. The mechanisms underlying wood stress adaptation are not well understood. Here, we investigated the physiological, anatomical, hormonal, and transcriptional responses of poplar to strong drought. Drought-stressed xylem was characterized by higher vessel frequencies, smaller vessel lumina, and thicker secondary fiber cell walls. These changes were accompanied by strong increases in abscisic acid (ABA) and antagonistic changes in salicylic acid in wood. Transcriptional evidence supported ABA biosynthesis and signaling in wood. Since ABA signaling activates the fiber-thickening factor NST1, we expected upregulation of the secondary cell wall (SCW) cascade under stress. By contrast, transcription factors and biosynthesis genes for SCW formation were down-regulated, whereas a small set of cellulose synthase-like genes and a huge array of genes involved in cell wall modification were up-regulated in drought-stressed wood. Therefore, we suggest that ABA signaling monitors normal SCW biosynthesis and that drought causes a switch from normal to “stress wood” formation recruiting a dedicated set of genes for cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling. This proposition implies that drought-induced changes in cell wall properties underlie regulatory mechanisms distinct from those of normal wood.
Issue Date
2021
Journal
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Büsgen-Institut ; Abteilung Forstbotanik und Baumphysiologie 
eISSN
1422-0067
Language
English

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