, Volume 232, Issue 2, pp 337–352

Characterization of NAC domain transcription factors implicated in control of vascular cell differentiation in Arabidopsis and Populus

  • Emily H. Grant
  • Takeshi Fujino
  • Eric P. Beers
  • Amy M. Brunner
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00425-010-1181-2

Cite this article as:
Grant, E.H., Fujino, T., Beers, E.P. et al. Planta (2010) 232: 337. doi:10.1007/s00425-010-1181-2


Wood has a wide variety of uses and is arguably the most important renewable raw material. The composition of xylem cell types in wood determines the utility of different types of wood for distinct commercial applications. Using expression profiling and phylogenetic analysis, we identified many xylem-associated regulatory genes that may control the differentiation of cells involved in wood formation in Arabidopsis and poplar. Prominent among these are NAC domain transcription factors (NACs). We studied NACs with putative involvement as negative (XND1 from Arabidopsis and its poplar orthologs PopNAC118, PopNAC122, PopNAC128, PopNAC129), or positive (SND2 and SND3 from Arabidopsis and their poplar orthologs PopNAC105, PopNAC154, PopNAC156, PopNAC157) regulators of secondary cell wall synthesis. Using quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization, we evaluated expression of these Populus NACs in a developmental gradient and in association with reaction wood and found that representatives from both groups were associated with wood-forming tissue and phloem fibers. Additionally, XND1 orthologs were expressed in mesophyll cells of developing leaves. We prepared transgenic Arabidopsis and poplar plants for overexpression of selected NACs. XND1 overexpression in poplar resulted in severe stunting. Additionally, poplar XND1 overexpressors lacked phloem fibers and showed reductions in cell size and number, vessel number, and frequency of rays in the xylem. Overexpression of PopNAC122, an XND1 ortholog, yielded an analogous phenotype in Arabidopsis. Overexpression of PopNAC154 in poplar reduced height growth and increased the relative proportion of bark versus xylem.


Arabidopsis Populus Xylem NACs Transcription factor Wood 



Leaf plastochron index


3′ Rapid amplification of cDNA ends


Reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR


Untranslated region

Supplementary material

425_2010_1181_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 13.9 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 12 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 14.1 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (PDF 12 kb)
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Supplementary material 5 (PDF 14 kb)
425_2010_1181_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (12 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (PDF 11 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily H. Grant
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takeshi Fujino
    • 1
  • Eric P. Beers
    • 2
  • Amy M. Brunner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest Resources and Environmental ConservationVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of HorticultureVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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