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Plant Cell. 2008 Jan;20(1):59-74. doi: 10.1105/tpc.107.056721. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

CENL1 expression in the rib meristem affects stem elongation and the transition to dormancy in Populus.

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  • 1Plant Biology, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland.


We investigated the short day (SD)-induced transition to dormancy in wild-type hybrid poplar (Populus tremula x P. tremuloides) and its absence in transgenic poplar overexpressing heterologous PHYTOCHROME A (PHYA). CENTRORADIALIS-LIKE1 (CENL1), a poplar ortholog of Arabidopsis thaliana TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1), was markedly downregulated in the wild-type apex coincident with SD-induced growth cessation. By contrast, poplar overexpressing a heterologous Avena sativa PHYA construct (P35S:AsPHYA), with PHYA accumulating in the rib meristem (RM) and adjacent tissues but not in the shoot apical meristem (SAM), upregulated CENL1 in the RM area coincident with an acceleration of stem elongation. In SD-exposed heterografts, both P35S:AsPHYA and wild-type scions ceased growth and formed buds, whereas only the wild type assumed dormancy and P35S:AsPHYA showed repetitive flushing. This shows that the transition is not dictated by leaf-produced signals but dependent on RM and SAM properties. In view of this, callose-enforced cell isolation in the SAM, associated with suspension of indeterminate growth during dormancy, may require downregulation of CENL1 in the RM. Accordingly, upregulation of CENL1/TFL1 might promote stem elongation in poplar as well as in Arabidopsis during bolting. Together, the results suggest that the RM is particularly sensitive to photoperiodic signals and that CENL1 in the RM influences transition to dormancy in hybrid poplar.

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