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Open Access Research article

Xylem transcription profiles indicate potential metabolic responses for economically relevant characteristics of Eucalyptus species

Marcela Mendes Salazar1, Leandro Costa Nascimento1, Eduardo Leal Oliveira Camargo1, Danieli Cristina Gonçalves1, Jorge Lepikson Neto1, Wesley Leoricy Marques1, Paulo José Pereira Lima Teixeira1, Piotr Mieczkowski2, Jorge Maurício Costa Mondego3, Marcelo Falsarella Carazzolle1, Ana Carolina Deckmann1 and Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Genômica e Expressão, Departamento de Genética Evolução e Bioagentes, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Campinas, CEP: 13083-970, Brasil

2 Department of Genetics, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Chapel Hill, NC, USA

3 Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Recursos Genéticos vegetais, Instituto Agronômico de Campinas, São Paulo, Campinas, CEP: 13001-970, Brasil

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:201  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-201

Published: 22 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Eucalyptus is one of the most important sources of industrial cellulose. Three species of this botanical group are intensively used in breeding programs: E. globulus, E. grandis and E. urophylla. E. globulus is adapted to subtropical/temperate areas and is considered a source of high-quality cellulose; E. grandis grows rapidly and is adapted to tropical/subtropical climates; and E. urophylla, though less productive, is considered a source of genes related to robustness. Wood, or secondary xylem, results from cambium vascular differentiation and is mostly composed of cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses. In this study, the xylem transcriptomes of the three Eucalyptus species were investigated in order to provide insights on the particularities presented by each of these species.

Results

Data analysis showed that (1) most Eucalyptus genes are expressed in xylem; (2) most genes expressed in species-specific way constitutes genes with unknown functions and are interesting targets for future studies; (3) relevant differences were observed in the phenylpropanoid pathway: E. grandis xylem presents higher expression of genes involved in lignin formation whereas E. urophylla seems to deviates the pathway towards flavonoid formation; (4) stress-related genes are considerably more expressed in E. urophylla, suggesting that these genes may contribute to its robustness.

Conclusions

The comparison of these three transcriptomes indicates the molecular signatures underlying some of their distinct wood characteristics. This information may contribute to the understanding of xylogenesis, thus increasing the potential of genetic engineering approaches aiming at the improvement of Eucalyptus forest plantations productivity.

Keywords:
Eucalyptus; RNAseq; Transcriptome analysis; Secondary xylem