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Front Plant Sci. 2018 Sep 5;9:1292. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01292. eCollection 2018.

Metabolome and Lipidome Profiles of Populus × canescens Twig Tissues During Annual Growth Show Phospholipid-Linked Storage and Mobilization of C, N, and S.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Wissenschaftspark Potsdam-Golm, Potsdam, Germany.
NARA Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Japan.
Chair of Tree Physiology, Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Chair of Ecosystem Physiology, Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel.


The temperate climax tree species Fagus sylvatica and the floodplain tree species Populus × canescens possess contrasting phosphorus (P) nutrition strategies. While F. sylvatica has been documented to display P storage and mobilization (Netzer et al., 2017), this was not observed for Populus × canescens (Netzer et al., 2018b). Nevertheless, changes in the abundance of organic bound P in gray poplar trees indicated adaptation of the P nutrition to different needs during annual growth. The present study aimed at characterizing seasonal changes in metabolite and lipid abundances in gray poplar and uncovering differences in metabolite requirement due to specific needs depending on the season. Seasonal variations in the abundance of (i) sugar-Ps and phospholipids, (ii) amino acids, (iii) sulfur compounds, and (iv) carbon metabolites were expected. It was hypothesized that seasonal changes in metabolite levels relate to N, S, and C storage and mobilization. Changes in organic metabolites binding Pi (Porg) are supposed to support these processes. Variation in triacylglycerols, in sugar-phosphates, in metabolites of the TCA cycle and in the amino acid abundance of poplar twig buds, leaves, bark, and wood were found to be linked to changes in metabolite abundances as well as to C, N, and S storage and mobilization processes. The observed changes support the view of a lack of any P storage in poplar. Yet, during dormancy, contents of phospholipids in twig bark and wood were highest probably due to frost-hardening and to its function in extra-plastidic membranes such as amyloplasts, oleosomes, and protein bodies. Consistent with this assumption, in spring sugar-Ps increased when phospholipids declined and poplar plants entering the vegetative growth period and, hence, metabolic activity increases. These results indicate that poplar trees adopt a policy of P nutrition without P storage and mobilization that is different from their N- and S-nutrition strategies.


Populus × canescens; annual growth cycle; nutrient mobilization; nutrient storage; phospholipids

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