No trade-off between hydraulic and mechanical properties in several transgenic poplars modified for lignins metabolism - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Environmental and Experimental Botany Year : 2012

No trade-off between hydraulic and mechanical properties in several transgenic poplars modified for lignins metabolism

Abstract

Wood provides water transport and mechanical support of trees. Sap is transported under negative pressure in plant xylem conduits, which can be subject to embolism during severe drought. Typically, denser woods show thicker cell walls and stronger mechanical properties. Ten transgenic poplar lines modified for expression of genes involved in lignin metabolism were produced from the female clone 717-1B4 of Populus tremula × Populus alba to test the hypothesis of a possible trade-off between hydraulic and mechanical functions. Poplar lines underexpressed genes encoding for cinnamoyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD), cinnamoyl CoA reductase (CCR) and caffeic acid 3-O- methyltransferase (COMT), while new poplar lines underexpressed the CAD genes or overexpressed the MYB308 gene, encoding for a transcription factor repressing the phenylpropanoid metabolism. To maximize the contrast between line behaviors, these plants were grown under two different water regimes, and the impact on their hydraulic traits and xylem properties was analyzed to test for a link between water condition and mechanical and hydraulic properties. Our results show that the resistance to xylem cavitation was lower for the transgenic lines than for the control line 717-1b4 while they show neither a positive nor a negative tendency for the longitudinal Young's modulus between the transgenic lines and the control line. ASOMT10b and ASOMT2b, which possessed a down-regulated expression for all the genes, showed a lower value of the resistance to implosion index (t/b)2. No difference for xylem hydraulic conductivity between the lines was found. The changes in lignin metabolism in these transgenic lines did not affect the water transport, despite the change in the lignin content. Our data on the transgenic poplar lines do not therefore support the mechanical vs. hydraulic trade-off hypothesis and we point out that angiosperm trees have numerous ways to acclimate their internal structure in order to adjust their mechanical properties without hydraulic coupling. Moreover, we observed an acclimation to water stress for P50 but not for the Young's modulus. MYB308-25.1 showed better mechanical properties and vulnerability to cavitation than the control line 717-1b4. Finally, we present evidence that lignins are involved in the vulnerability to cavitation, probably through modifications of pit structure and behavior.
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Dates and versions

hal-00964722 , version 1 (18-02-2019)

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Hosam Mohammed H. M. Awad, Stéphane Herbette, Nicole N. Brunel, Aude Tixier, Gilles G. Pilate, et al.. No trade-off between hydraulic and mechanical properties in several transgenic poplars modified for lignins metabolism. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 2012, 77, pp.185-195. ⟨10.1016/j.envexpbot.2011.11.023⟩. ⟨hal-00964722⟩
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