, Volume 235, Issue 2, pp 359–373 | Cite as

Influence of over-expression of the FLOWERING PROMOTING FACTOR 1 gene (FPF1) from Arabidopsis on wood formation in hybrid poplar (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.)

  • Hans Hoenicka
  • Silke Lautner
  • Andreas Klingberg
  • Gerald Koch
  • Fadia El-Sherif
  • Denise Lehnhardt
  • Bo Zhang
  • Ingo Burgert
  • Jürgen Odermatt
  • Siegbert Melzer
  • Jörg Fromm
  • Matthias Fladung
Original Article


Constitutive expression of the FPF1 gene in hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) showed a strong effect on wood formation but no effect on flowering time. Gene expression studies showed that activity of flowering time genes PtFT1, PtCO2, and PtFUL was not increased in FPF1 transgenic plants. However, the SOC1/TM3 class gene PTM5, which has been related to wood formation and flowering time, showed a strong activity in stems of all transgenic lines studied. Wood density was lower in transgenic plants, despite significantly reduced vessel frequency which was overcompensated by thinner fibre cell walls. Chemical screening of the wood by pyrolysis GC/MS showed that FPF1 transgenics have higher fractions of cellulose and glucomannan products as well as lower lignin content. The latter observation was confirmed by UV microspectrophotometry on a cellular level. Topochemical lignin distribution revealed a slower increase of lignin incorporation in the developing xylem of the transgenics when compared with the wild-type plants. In line with the reduced wood density, micromechanical wood properties such as stiffness and ultimate stress were also significantly reduced in all transgenic lines. Thus, we provide evidence that FPF1 class genes may play a regulatory role in both wood formation and flowering in poplar.


Flowering time FPF1 Poplar Pyrolysis GC/MS Transgenic tree Wood chemistry Wood formation 





Elongation Factor 1 Alpha


Flowering Locus T


Flowering time


Fisher’s discriminant ratio


Flowering Promoting Factor 1




Principle component analysis


CONSTANS paralogous gene


Flowering Locus T paralogous gene


FRUITFULL homologous gene


Leafy homologous gene


Poplar MADS-box gene



This work was supported by a grant to MF by the German Ministry of Education and Research. We thank Olaf Polak, Susann Weichold and Gabriele Wienskol for helpful technical assistance in the lab, and greenhouse staff (Matthias Hunger, Gundel Wiemann, Monika Spauszus) for plant cultivation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Hoenicka
    • 1
  • Silke Lautner
    • 2
  • Andreas Klingberg
    • 2
  • Gerald Koch
    • 2
  • Fadia El-Sherif
    • 3
  • Denise Lehnhardt
    • 1
  • Bo Zhang
    • 6
  • Ingo Burgert
    • 6
  • Jürgen Odermatt
    • 2
  • Siegbert Melzer
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jörg Fromm
    • 2
  • Matthias Fladung
    • 1
  1. 1.Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute (vTI)Institute of Forest GeneticsGrosshansdorfGermany
  2. 2.Zentrum Holzwirtschaft der Universität HamburgJohann Heinrich von Thünen Institute (vTI)HamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureFaculty of Agriculture, Suez-Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  4. 4.Laboratory of Plant SystematicsInstitute of Botany and MicrobiologyLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.Plant Breeding InstituteChristian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany
  6. 6.Department of BiomaterialsMax Planck Institute of Colloids and InterfacesPotsdamGermany

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