Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 15:4 | Cite as

Transcriptome sequencing to reveal the genetic regulation of leaf margin variation at early stage in birch

  • Xiuyan Bian
  • Chang Qu
  • Manman Zhang
  • Yidi Li
  • Rui Han
  • Jing Jiang
  • Guifeng LiuEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Gene Expression


Lobe, a visual description of leaf morphology, is present in Betula pendula ‘Dalecarlica’. Although works involving leaf dehiscence have been conducted, knowledge on the genetic regulation of leaf morphology diversity at early stage remains largely elusive. Here, based on the extent of leaf margin variability, trees of B. pendula ‘Dalecarlica’ were categorized into A, B, and C. Plant materials of the apical buds from B. pendula ‘Dalecarlica’ (ASAM, BSAM, and CSAM) and B. pendula (OSAM), and young leaves from B. pendula ‘Dalecarlica’ (AYL and BYL) and B. pendula (OYL) were sampled for transcriptome sequencing. Compared with OSAM, there were 81, 6, and 17 genes in ASAM, BSAM, and CSAM. The expression of 204 genes was altered in OYL relative to OSAM. Meanwhile, the transcripts of 182 genes were changed in BYL relative to BSAM. In contrast to OYL, 337 genes and 47 genes were differentially expressed in AYL and BYL, respectively. Moreover, 91 genes with transcript changes were detected in BYL, as compared to AYL. The differentially expressed genes were annotated as having roles in antioxidant defense, cell division, and auxin synthesis at the apical bud stage. During the transition development from the apical buds to young leaves, genes showed homology with important enzymes of cell division, auxin signaling, and photosynthesis. At young leaf stage, genes were mainly involved in cell division, auxin signaling, and photosynthesis. Overall, the genes identified in our transcriptome profiles played potential roles in producing leaf splitting. This study sheds light on the genetic regulation of incised leaves at early stage in birch, which can serve as references for guiding the genetic manipulation in sculpturing leaf organ boundary.


Birch Betula pendula ‘Dalecarlica’ Transcriptome Leaf margin Lobe Differentially expressed genes 



We thank Professor Hairong Wei in Michigan Technological University, Houghton, for the experimental design and English writing.

Authors’ contributions

XB and CQ performed all the experiments. MZ, YL, and RH assisted with paraffin section and growth traits observation. GL and JJ together with XB designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. The first two authors contributed equally to this work. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the following foundations: (1) National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant no. 31670673) and (2) the 111 Project (grant no. B16010).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data archiving statement

The raw read sequence data in FASTQ format was deposited in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database under the accession number SRP148344.

Supplementary material

11295_2018_1312_MOESM1_ESM.docx (91 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 91 kb)
11295_2018_1312_MOESM2_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 1601 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiuyan Bian
    • 1
  • Chang Qu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manman Zhang
    • 1
  • Yidi Li
    • 1
  • Rui Han
    • 1
  • Jing Jiang
    • 1
  • Guifeng Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and BreedingNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Research Institute of ForestryChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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