[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to uncover the genetic basis of phenotypic trait variation, we used 448 unrelated wild accessions of black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) from much of its range in western North America. Extensive data from large-scale trait phenotyping (with spatial and temporal replications within a common garden) and genotyping (with a 34 K Populus single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array) of all accessions were used for gene discovery in a genome-wide association study (GWAS).We performed GWAS with 40 biomass, ecophysiology and phenology traits and 29 355 filtered SNPs representing 3518 genes. The association analyses were carried out using a Unified Mixed Model accounting for population structure effects among accessions.We uncovered 410 significant SNPs using a Bonferroni-corrected threshold (P < 1.7 × 10−6). Markers were found across 19 chromosomes, explained 1–13% of trait variation, and implicated 275 unique genes in trait associations. Phenology had the largest number of associated genes (240 genes), followed by biomass (53 genes) and ecophysiology traits (25 genes).The GWAS results propose numerous loci for further investigation. Many traits had significant associations with multiple genes, underscoring their genetic complexity. Genes were also identified with multiple trait associations within and/or across trait categories. In some cases, traits were genetically correlated while in others they were not.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Populus trichocarpa is widespread across western North America spanning extensive variation in photoperiod, growing season and climate. We investigated trait variation in P. trichocarpa using over 2000 trees from a common garden at Vancouver, Canada, representing replicate plantings of 461 genotypes originating from 136 provenance localities. We measured 40 traits encompassing phenological events, biomass accumulation, growth rates, and leaf, isotope and gas exchange-based ecophysiology traits. With replicated plantings and 29 354 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 3518 genes, we estimated both broad-sense trait heritability (H(2) ) and overall population genetic structure from principal component analysis. Populus trichocarpa had high phenotypic variation and moderate/high H(2) for many traits. H(2) ranged from 0.3 to 0.9 in phenology, 0.3 to 0.8 in biomass and 0.1 to 0.8 in ecophysiology traits. Most traits correlated strongly with latitude, maximum daylength and temperature of tree origin, but not necessarily with elevation, precipitation or heat : moisture indices. Trait H(2) values reflected trait correlation strength with geoclimate variables. The population genetic structure had one significant principal component (PC1) which correlated with daylength and showed enrichment for genes relating to circadian rhythm and photoperiod. Robust relationships between traits, population structure and geoclimate in P. trichocarpa reflect patterns which suggest that range-wide geographical and environment gradients have shaped its genotypic and phenotypic variability.
New Phytologist 03/2014; 201(4):1263-76. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In plants, genes may sustain extensive pleiotropic functional properties by individually affecting multiple, distinct traits. We discuss results from three genome-wide association studies of ca. 400 natural Populus trichocarpa (poplar; black cottonwood) accessions phenotyped for 60 ecological/biomass, wood quality and rust fungus resistance traits. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the poplar ortholog of the Class III homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD ZIP) transcription factor gene REVOLUTA (popREV) were significantly associated with three specific traits. Based on SNP associations with fungal resistance, leaf drop, and cellulose content, the popREV gene contains three potential regulatory sites within non-coding regions at the gene's 3'end where alternative splicing and messenger RNA (mRNA) processing actively occurs. The polymorphisms in this region associated with leaf abscission and cellulose content are suggested to represent more recent variants, whereas the SNP associated with leaf rust resistance may be more ancient, consistent with REV's primary role in auxin signaling and its functional evolution in supporting fundamental processes of vascular plant development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-throughput approaches have been widely applied to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of industrially important wood properties. Wood traits are polygenic in nature, but gene hierarchies can be assessed to identify the most important gene variants controlling specific traits within complex networks defining the overall wood phenotype. We tested a large set of genetic, genomic, and phenotypic information in an integrative approach to predict wood properties in Populus trichocarpa. Nine-yr-old natural P. trichocarpa trees including accessions with high contrasts in six traits related to wood chemistry and ultrastructure were profiled for gene expression on 49k Nimblegen (Roche NimbleGen Inc., Madison, WI, USA) array elements and for 28 831 polymorphic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Pre-selected transcripts and SNPs with high statistical dependence on phenotypic traits were used in Bayesian network learning procedures with a stepwise K2 algorithm to infer phenotype-centric networks. Transcripts were pre-selected at a much lower logarithm of Bayes factor (logBF) threshold than SNPs and were not accommodated in the networks. Using persistent variables, we constructed cross-validated networks for variability in wood attributes, which contained four to six variables with 94-100% predictive accuracy. Accommodated gene variants revealed the hierarchy in the genetic architecture that underpins substantial phenotypic variability, and represent new tools to support the maximization of response to selection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishing links between phenotypes and molecular variants is of central importance to accelerate genetic improvement of economically important plant species. Our work represents the first genome-wide association study to the inherently complex and currently poorly understood genetic architecture of industrially relevant wood traits. Here, we employed an Illumina Infinium 34K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping array that generated 29 233 high-quality SNPs in c. 3500 broad-based candidate genes within a population of 334 unrelated Populus trichocarpa individuals to establish genome-wide associations. The analysis revealed 141 significant SNPs (α ≤ 0.05) associated with 16 wood chemistry/ultrastructure traits, individually explaining 3-7% of the phenotypic variance. A large set of associations (41% of all hits) occurred in candidate genes preselected for their suggested a priori involvement with secondary growth. For example, an allelic variant in the FRA8 ortholog explained 21% of the total genetic variance in fiber length, when the trait's heritability estimate was considered. The remaining associations identified SNPs in genes not previously implicated in wood or secondary wall formation. Our findings provide unique insights into wood trait architecture and support efforts for population improvement based on desirable allelic variants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic mapping of quantitative traits requires genotypic data for large numbers of markers in many individuals. For such studies, the use of large single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping arrays still offers the most cost-effective solution. Herein we report on the design and performance of a SNP genotyping array for Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood). This genotyping array was designed with SNPs pre-ascertained in 34 wild accessions covering most of the species latitudinal range. We adopted a candidate gene approach to the array design that resulted in the selection of 34 131 SNPs, the majority of which are located in, or within 2 kb of, 3543 candidate genes. A subset of the SNPs on the array (539) was selected based on patterns of variation among the SNP discovery accessions. We show that more than 95% of the loci produce high quality genotypes and that the genotyping error rate for these is likely below 2%. We demonstrate that even among small numbers of samples (n = 10) from local populations over 84% of loci are polymorphic. We also tested the applicability of the array to other species in the genus and found that the number of polymorphic loci decreases rapidly with genetic distance, with the largest numbers detected in other species in section Tacamahaca. Finally, we provide evidence for the utility of the array to address evolutionary questions such as intraspecific studies of genetic differentiation, species assignment and the detection of natural hybrids.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: • The formation of secondary cell walls in cell types such as tracheary elements and fibers is a defining characteristic of vascular plants. The Arabidopsis transcription factor KNAT7 is a component of a transcription network that regulates secondary cell wall biosynthesis, but its function has remained unclear. • We conducted anatomical, biochemical and molecular phenotypic analyses of Arabidopsis knat7 loss-of-function alleles, KNAT7 over-expression lines and knat7 lines expressing poplar KNAT7. • KNAT7 was strongly expressed in concert with secondary wall formation in Arabidopsis and poplar. Arabidopsis knat7 loss-of-function alleles exhibited irregular xylem phenotypes, but also showed increased secondary cell wall thickness in fibers. Increased commitment to secondary cell wall biosynthesis was accompanied by increased lignin content and elevated expression of secondary cell wall biosynthetic genes. KNAT7 over-expression resulted in thinner interfascicular fiber cell walls. • Taken together with data demonstrating that KNAT7 is a transcriptional repressor, we hypothesize that KNAT7 is a negative regulator of secondary wall biosynthesis, and functions in a negative feedback loop that represses metabolically inappropriate commitment to secondary wall formation, thereby maintaining metabolic homeostasis. The conservation of the KNAT7 regulatory module in poplar suggests new ways to manipulate secondary cell wall deposition for improvement of bioenergy traits in this tree.
New Phytologist 04/2012; 194(1):102-15. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The western black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) was the first tree to have its genome fully sequenced and has emerged as the model species for the study of secondary growth and wood formation. It is also a good candidate species for the production of lignocellulosic biofuels. Here, we present and make available to the research community the results of the sequencing of the transcriptome of developing xylem in 20 accessions with high-throughput next generation sequencing technology. We found over 0.5 million putative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 26,595 genes that are expressed in developing secondary xylem. More than two-thirds of all SNPs were found in annotated exons, with 18% and 14% in regions of the genome annotated as introns and intergenic, respectively, where only 3% and 4% of sequence reads mapped. This suggests that the current annotation of the poplar genome is remarkably incomplete and that there are many transcripts and novel genes waiting to be annotated. We hope that this resource will stimulate further research in expression profiling, detection of alternative splicing and adaptive evolution in poplar.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The highly resistant biopolymer, sporopollenin, gives the outer wall (exine) of spores and pollen grains their unparalleled strength, shielding these structures from terrestrial stresses. Despite a limited understanding of the composition of sporopollenin, it appears that the synthesis of sporopollenin occurs in the tapetum and requires the transport of one or more sporopollenin constituents to the surface of developing microspores. Here, we describe ABCG26, a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily, which is required for pollen exine formation in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). abcg26 mutants are severely reduced in fertility, with most siliques failing to produce seeds by self-fertilization and mature anthers failing to release pollen. Transmission electron microscopy analyses revealed an absence of an exine wall on abcg26-1 mutant microspores. Phenotypic abnormalities in pollen wall formation were first apparent in early uninucleate microspores as a lack of exine formation and sporopollenin deposition. Additionally, the highest levels of ABCG26 mRNA were in the tapetum, during early pollen wall formation, sporopollenin biosynthesis, and sporopollenin deposition. Accumulations resembling the trilamellar lipidic coils in the abcg11 and abcg12 mutants defective in cuticular wax export were observed in the anther locules of abcg26 mutants. A yellow fluorescent protein-ABCG26 protein was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane. Our results show that ABCG26 plays a critical role in exine formation and pollen development and are consistent with a model by which ABCG26 transports sporopollenin precursors across the tapetum plasma membrane into the locule for polymerization on developing microspore walls.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The apical shoot drives the yearly new stem growth of conifer trees, is the primary site for the establishment of chemical and physical defences, and is important in establishing subsequent perennial growth. This organ presents an interesting developmental system, with growth and development progressing from a meristematic tip through development of a primary vascular system, to a base with fully differentiated and lignified secondary xylem on the inside and bark tissue with constitutive defence structures such as resin, polyphenolic phloem parenchyma cells, and sclereids on the outside. A spruce (Picea spp.) microarray containing approximately 16.7K unique cDNAs was used to study transcript profiles that characterize the developmental transition in apical shoots of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) from their vegetative tips to their woody bases. Along with genes involved in cell-wall modification and lignin biosynthesis, a number of differentially regulated genes encoding protein kinases and transcription factors with base-preferred expression patterns were identified, which could play roles in the formation of woody tissues inside the apical shoot, as well as in regulating other developmental transitions associated with organ maturation. Preferential expression of known conifer defence genes, genes encoding defence-related proteins, and genes encoding regulatory proteins was observed at the apical shoot tip and in the green bark tissues at the apical shoot base, suggesting a commitment to constitutive defence in the apical shoot that is co-ordinated with rapid development of secondary xylem.
Journal of Experimental Botany 02/2007; 58(3):593-614. · 5.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The completion of the Populus trichocarpa (Torr. & A. Gray) (poplar) genome sequence offers an opportunity to study complete genome families in a third fully sequenced angiosperm (after Arabidopsis and rice) and to conduct comparative genomics studies of angiosperm gene family evolution. We focussed on gene families encoding phenylpropanoid and phenylpropanoid-like enzymes, and identified and annotated the full set of genes encoding these and related enzymes in the poplar genome. We used a similar approach to identify an analogous set of genes from the rice genome and generated phylogenetic trees for nine phenylpropanoid gene families from aligned poplar, Arabidopsis, and rice predicted protein sequences. This enabled us to identify the likely full set of bona fide poplar lignin-related phenylpropanoid genes (poplar “lignification toolbox”) apparent within well-defined clades in all phylogenetic trees. Analysis of expression data for poplar genes confirmed and refined annotations of lignin-related genes, which generally showed high expression in wood-forming tissues. Expression data from both poplar and Arabidopsis were used to make inferences regarding biochemical and biological functions of phenylpropanoid-like genes with unknown functions. The comparative approach also provided insights into the evolution of angiosperm phenylpropanoid-like gene families, illustrating lineage-specific clades as well as ancient clades containing genes with apparent conserved function.L’obtention de la séquence génomique complète du Populus trichocarpa (Torr. & A. Gray) (peuplier) offre l’opportunité d’étudier des familles génomiques complètes chez une troisième angiosperme complètement séquencée (après l’Arabidopsis et le riz), et de conduire des études de génomique comparée sur l’évolution des familles de gènes des angiospermes. Les auteurs se sont intéressés aux familles de gènes codant les enzymes des phénylpropanoïdes et apparentées aux phénylpropanoïdes, et ont identifié et annoté l’ensemble des gènes codant ces enzymes, et autres apparentées, dans le génome du peuplier. Ils ont utilisé une approche similaire, pour identifier un ensemble de gènes analogues du génome du riz, et ont généré des arbres phylogénétiques pour neuf familles de gènes phénylpropanoïdes, à partir des séquences protéiniques prédites alignées chez le peuplier, l’Arabidopsis et le riz. Ceci a permis d’identifier l’ensemble probablement complet des gènes phénylpropanoïdes reliés à la lignine, chez le peuplier (« boîte à outil de la lignification » du peuplier), qu’on retrouve dans des clades bien définis de tous les arbres phylogénétiques. L’analyse des données d’expression des gènes du peuplier confirme et raffine les annotations des gènes reliés à la lignine, lesquels montrent généralement une forte expression dans les tissus générateurs du bois. On a utilisé les données d’expression du peuplier aussi bien que de l’Arabidopsis pour en inférer les fonctions biochimiques de gènes apparentés à des phénylpropanoïdes de fonctions inconnues. L’approche comparative ouvre une porte sur l’évolution des familles de gènes apparentées aux phénylpropanoïdes des angiospermes, illustrant des clades spécifiques aux lignées, ainsi que d’anciens clades contenant des gènes ayant des fonctions apparemment conservées.
Canadian Journal of Botany 01/2007; 85(12):1182-1201. · 1.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conifers are resistant to attack from a large number of potential herbivores or pathogens. Previous molecular and biochemical characterization of selected conifer defence systems support a model of multigenic, constitutive and induced defences that act on invading insects via physical, chemical, biochemical or ecological (multitrophic) mechanisms. However, the genomic foundation of the complex defence and resistance mechanisms of conifers is largely unknown. As part of a genomics strategy to characterize inducible defences and possible resistance mechanisms of conifers against insect herbivory, we developed a cDNA microarray building upon a new spruce (Picea spp.) expressed sequence tag resource. This first-generation spruce cDNA microarray contains 9720 cDNA elements representing c. 5500 unique genes. We used this array to monitor gene expression in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) bark in response to herbivory by white pine weevils (Pissodes strobi, Curculionidae) or wounding, and in young shoot tips in response to western spruce budworm (Choristoneura occidentalis, Lepidopterae) feeding. Weevils are stem-boring insects that feed on phloem, while budworms are foliage feeding larvae that consume needles and young shoot tips. Both insect species and wounding treatment caused substantial changes of the host plant transcriptome detected in each case by differential gene expression of several thousand array elements at 1 or 2 d after the onset of treatment. Overall, there was considerable overlap among differentially expressed gene sets from these three stress treatments. Functional classification of the induced transcripts revealed genes with roles in general plant defence, octadecanoid and ethylene signalling, transport, secondary metabolism, and transcriptional regulation. Several genes involved in primary metabolic processes such as photosynthesis were down-regulated upon insect feeding or wounding, fitting with the concept of dynamic resource allocation in plant defence. Refined expression analysis using gene-specific primers and real-time PCR for selected transcripts was in agreement with microarray results for most genes tested. This study provides the first large-scale survey of insect-induced defence transcripts in a gymnosperm and provides a platform for functional investigation of plant-insect interactions in spruce. Induction of spruce genes of octadecanoid and ethylene signalling, terpenoid biosynthesis, and phenolic secondary metabolism are discussed in more detail.
Plant Cell and Environment 09/2006; 29(8):1545-70. · 5.14 Impact Factor