Special Issue "Molecular Biology of Secondary Growth"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kyung-Hwan Han Website E-Mail
Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA
Interests: Plant Molecular Biology; Secondary Growth; Secondary Cell Wall Biosynthesis; Drought Tolerance; Annual Growth Cycle of Trees
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jae-Heung Ko E-Mail
Department of Plant and Environmental New Resources, Kyung Hee University, Korea
Interests: Plant Science; Wood Formation; Secondary Wall Biosynthesis; Stress Biology; Biotechnological Improvement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In woody plants, the growth and differentiation of secondary tissues produced by the vascular cambium (or secondary meristem) increases the stem diameter by periclinal divisions, and the circumference by anticlinal divisions, resulting in the developmental continuum of secondary phloem and xylem, called wood. This secondary growth is one of the most important biological processes on Earth. The resulting secondary tissues provide the necessary mechanical support and a conduit for the long-distance transport of water and nutrients, allowing trees to grow tall and eventually outcompete other herbaceous vegetation in light and nutrient uptake. Economically, this product is of primary importance to humans as timber for construction and pulp for paper manufacturing. It is also the most environmentally cost-effective renewable source of energy. Despite its biological and economic significance, the molecular mechanisms underlying vascular cambium development—from procambium and phloem/xylem cell fate specification—are still largely unknown. During the last two decades, remarkable progress has been made in identifying many pivotal regulators—such as the PXY/TDR-TDIF signaling network, VND transcription factors, and those involved in hormonal regulation—through the use of molecular genetics and/or large-scale gene expression analysis in both herbaceous Arabidopsis and woody poplar plants.

This Special Issue invites contributions focused on novel insights into understanding the molecular biology of secondary growth in plants; more specifically, original research papers reporting the identification of novel components regulating the signaling network of secondary growth in both herbaceous annuals or woody perennials. Studies on the epigenetic control of xylem cell fate specification, vascular cambium development, and review papers on these topics are also invited. We believe that this collection of papers will contribute to a better understanding of the secondary growth in plants, which can serve as one of Earth’s major long-term carbon sinks.

Prof. Dr. Kyung-Hwan Han
Prof. Dr. Jae-Heung Ko
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • vascular cambium development
  • xylem cell fate specification
  • woody perennial
  • secondary meristem
  • secondary growth

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Wood Transcriptome Profiling Identifies Critical Pathway Genes of Secondary Wall Biosynthesis and Novel Regulators for Vascular Cambium Development in Populus
Genes 2019, 10(9), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10090690 - 07 Sep 2019
Abstract
Wood, the most abundant biomass on Earth, is composed of secondary xylem differentiated from vascular cambium. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of wood formation remain largely unclear. To gain insight into wood formation, we performed a series of wood-forming tissue-specific transcriptome analyses from [...] Read more.
Wood, the most abundant biomass on Earth, is composed of secondary xylem differentiated from vascular cambium. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of wood formation remain largely unclear. To gain insight into wood formation, we performed a series of wood-forming tissue-specific transcriptome analyses from a hybrid poplar (Populus alba × P. glandulosa, clone BH) using RNA-seq. Together with shoot apex and leaf tissue, cambium and xylem tissues were isolated from vertical stem segments representing a gradient of secondary growth developmental stages (i.e., immature, intermediate, and mature stem). In a comparative transcriptome analysis of the ‘developing xylem’ and ‘leaf’ tissue, we could identify critical players catalyzing each biosynthetic step of secondary wall components (e.g., cellulose, xylan, and lignin). Several candidate genes involved in the initiation of vascular cambium formation were found via a co-expression network analysis using abundantly expressed genes in the ‘intermediate stem-derived cambium’ tissue. We found that transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing the PtrHAM4-1, a GRAS family transcription factor, resulted in a significant increase of vascular cambium development. This phenotype was successfully reproduced in the transgenic poplars overexpressing the PtrHAM4-1. Taken together, our results may serve as a springboard for further research to unravel the molecular mechanism of wood formation, one of the most important biological processes on this planet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Secondary Growth)
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Open AccessArticle
Cloning and Functional Analysis of Lignin Biosynthesis Genes Cf4CL and CfCCoAOMT in Cryptomeria fortunei
Genes 2019, 10(8), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10080619 - 15 Aug 2019
Abstract
Cryptomeria fortunei, also known as the Chinese cedar, is an important timber species in southern China. The primary component of its woody tissues is lignin, mainly present in secondary cell walls. Therefore, continuous lignin synthesis is crucial for wood formation. In this [...] Read more.
Cryptomeria fortunei, also known as the Chinese cedar, is an important timber species in southern China. The primary component of its woody tissues is lignin, mainly present in secondary cell walls. Therefore, continuous lignin synthesis is crucial for wood formation. In this study, we aimed to discover key genes involved in lignin synthesis expressed in the vascular cambium of C. fortunei. Through transcriptome sequencing, we detected expression of two genes, 4CL and CCoAOMT, known to be homologous to enzymes involved in the lignin synthesis pathway. We studied the function of these genes through bioinformatics analysis, cloning, vascular cambium expression analysis, and transgenic cross-species functional validation studies. Our results show that Cf4CL and CfCCoAOMT do indeed function in the pathway of lignin synthesis and likely perform this function in C. fortunei. They are prime candidates for future (gene-editing) studies aimed at optimizing C. fortunei wood production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Secondary Growth)
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