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Influence of overexpression of a gibberellin 20-oxidase gene on the kinetics of xylem cell development in hybrid poplar (Populus tremula L. and P. tremuloides Michx.)

Oliver Dünisch, Matthias Fladung, Satoshi Nakaba, Yoko Watanabe and Ryo Funada
From the journal


Gibberellins (GAs) are important regulators of shoot growth in trees. We studied the kinetics of xylem formation in hybrid poplar (Populus tremula L.×P. tremuloides Michx.) in which the key regulatory gene gibberellin acid 20 oxidase (GA20-oxidase) isolated from Arabidopsis is overexpressed. Increments in the height and radius of shoots were registered by high-resolution laser measurements. The anatomical and chemical structure of mature xylem cells was studied by light electron microscopy and UV spectrophotometry. Transgenic plants showed an increase in height growth, but a lower speed of cell elongation during primary growth compared to wild-type plants. During the first year of growth, transgenic plants showed a higher radius increment, an increase in the period of cell expansion of vessels and fibres and their final size, and a higher lignin content of the compound middle lamella between fibres compared to wild-type plants. In contrast, during the third year of growth, only a slight increase in the period of cell expansion of fibre cells was observed in transgenic compared to wild-type plants. Analyses of GA20-oxidase expression in leaves and shoots of 6-month- and 3-year-old plants of three different independent transgenic lines revealed a decrease in its expression only in shoots but not in leaves of the 3-year-old plants. The results indicate that overexpression of the GA20-oxidase gene in young shoots of transgenic poplar predominately affects cell expansion, while no GA20-oxidase expression was observed in shoots of 3-year-old transgenic plants, resulting in wild-type xylem cell development.


Corresponding author. Institute for Wood Biology and Wood Preservation, Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products, Leuschnerstr. 91, D-21031 Hamburg, Germany Phone: +49-40-73962460


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Published Online: 2006-12-04
Published in Print: 2006-11-01

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