Functional network analysis of genes differentially expressed during xylogenesis in soc1ful woody Arabidopsis plants

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • Abstract:

    Many plant genes are known to be involved in the development of cambium and wood, but how the expression and functional interaction of these genes determine the unique biology of wood remains largely unknown. We used the soc1ful loss of function mutant – the woodiest genotype known in the otherwise herbaceous model plant Arabidopsis – to investigate the expression and interactions of genes involved in secondary growth (wood formation). Detailed anatomical observations of the stem in combination with mRNA sequencing were used to assess transcriptome remodeling during xylogenesis in wild-type and woody soc1ful plants. To interpret the transcriptome changes, we constructed functional gene association networks of differentially expressed genes using the STRING database. This analysis revealed functionally enriched gene association hubs that are differentially expressed in herbaceous and woody tissues. In particular, we observed the differential expression of genes related to mechanical stress and jasmonate biosynthesis/ signaling during wood formation in soc1ful plants that may be an effect of greater tension within woody tissues. Our results suggest that habit shifts from herbaceous to woody life forms observed in many angiosperm lineages could have evolved convergently by genetic changes that modulate the gene expression and interaction network, and thereby redeploy the conserved wood developmental program.