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Open Access Research article

Dynamic changes in transcripts during regeneration of the secondary vascular system in Populus tomentosa Carr. revealed by cDNA microarrays

Minjie Wang1, Xiaoli Qi12, Shutang Zhao1, Shougong Zhang1 and Meng-Zhu Lu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Biotechnology, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, PR China

2 College of Life Science, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, PR China

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BMC Genomics 2009, 10:215  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-215

Published: 11 May 2009

Abstract

Background

Wood is the end product of secondary vascular system development, which begins from the cambium. The wood formation process includes four major stages: cell expansion, secondary wall biosynthesis, lignification, and programmed cell death. Transcriptional profiling is a rapid way to screen for genes involved in these stages and their transitions, providing the basis for understanding the molecular mechanisms that control this process.

Results

In this study, cDNA microarrays were prepared from a subtracted cDNA library (cambium zone versus leaf) of Chinese white poplar (Populus tomentosa Carr.) and employed to analyze the transcriptional profiles during the regeneration of the secondary vascular system, a platform established in our previous study. Two hundred and seven genes showed transcript-level differences at the different regeneration stages. Dramatic transcriptional changes were observed at cambium initiation, cambium formation and differentiation, and xylem development, suggesting that these up- or downregulated genes play important roles in these stage transitions. Transcription factors such as AUX/IAA and PINHEAD, which were previously shown to be involved in meristem and vascular tissue differentiation, were strongly transcribed at the stages when cambial cells were initiated and underwent differentiation, whereas genes encoding MYB proteins and several small heat shock proteins were strongly transcribed at the stage when xylem development begins.

Conclusion

Employing this method, we observed dynamic changes in gene transcript levels at the key stages, including cambium initiation, cambium formation and differentiation, and xylem development, suggesting that these up- or downregulated genes are strongly involved in these stage transitions. Further studies of these genes could help elucidate their roles in wood formation.