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Planta. 2012 Aug;236(2):727-37. doi: 10.1007/s00425-012-1644-8. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

The response to daylight or continuous ozone of phenylpropanoid and lignin biosynthesis pathways in poplar differs between leaves and wood.

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Nancy-Université, INRA, UMR 1137 Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestières, Boulevard des Aiguillettes, B.P. 70239, 54506, Vandœuvre lès Nancy, France.


Ozone induces a stimulation of the phenylpropanoid and lignin biosynthesis pathways in leaves but the response of wood, the main lignin-producing tissue, is not well documented. The purpose of this study was to compare the responses of phenylpropanoid and lignin pathways in leaves and stem wood by a simultaneous analysis of both organs. Young poplars (Populus tremula×alba) were subjected either to daylight ozone (200 nL L(-1) during light period) or continuous ozone (200 nL L(-1) during light and dark periods) in controlled chambers. The trees were tilted so as to limit the formation of tension wood to the upper side of the stem and that of opposite wood to the lower side. Continuous ozone fumigation induced more pronounced effects in leaves than daylight ozone. Tension wood and opposite wood displayed similar responses to ozone. Enzyme activities involved in phenylpropanoid and lignin biosynthesis increased in the leaves of ozone-treated poplars and decreased in the wood. All steps involved in phenylpropanoid and monolignol synthesis in leaves and stem wood, were also altered at the transcript level (except coniferyl aldehyde 5-hydroxylase in leaves) suggesting that the responses were tightly coordinated. The response occurred rapidly in the leaves and much later in the wood. Phenylpropanoid and lignin biosynthesis is probably first involved in a defensive role against ozone in the leaves, which would lead to considerable rerouting of the carbon skeletons. The later response of phenylpropanoid and lignin metabolism in wood seemed to result from readjustment to the reduced carbon supply.

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