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Background: Wood development is of outstanding interest both to basic research and industry due to the associated cellulose and lignin biomass production. Efforts to elucidate wood formation (which is essential for numerous aspects of both pure and applied plant science) have been made using transcriptomic analyses and/or low-resolution sampling. However, transcriptomic data do not correlate perfectly with levels of expressed proteins due to effects of post-translational modifications and variations in turnover rates. In addition, high-resolution analysis is needed to characterize key transitions. In order to identify protein profiles across the developmental region of wood formation, an in-depth and tissue specific sampling was performed. Results: We examined protein profiles, using an ultra-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry system, in high-resolution tangential sections spanning all wood development zones in Populus tremula from undifferentiated cambium to mature phloem and xylem, including cell expansion and cell death zones. In total, we analyzed 482 sections, 20-160 μm thick, from four 47-year-old trees growing wild in Sweden. We obtained high quality expression profiles for 3,082 proteins exhibiting consistency across the replicates, considering that the trees were growing in an uncontrolled environment. A combination of Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structures (OPLS) modeling and an enhanced stepwise linear modeling approach identified several major transitions in global protein expression profiles, pinpointing (for example) locations of the cambial division leading to phloem and xylem cells, and secondary cell wall formation zones. We also identified key proteins and associated pathways underlying these developmental landmarks. For example, many of the lignocellulosic related proteins were upregulated in the expansion to the early developmental xylem zone, and for laccases with a rapid decrease in early xylem zones. We observed upregulation of two forms of xylem cysteine protease (Potri.002G005700.1 and Potri.005G256000.2; Pt-XCP2.1) in early xylem and their downregulation in late maturing xylem. Our data also show that Pt-KOR1.3 (Potri.003G151700.2) exhibits an expression pattern that supports the hypothesis put forward in previous studies that this is a key xyloglucanase involved in cellulose biosynthesis in primary cell walls and reduction of cellulose crystallinity in secondary walls. Conclusion: Our novel multivariate approach highlights important processes and provides confirmatory insights into the molecular foundations of wood development.
Obudulu, O., Bygdell, J., Sundberg, B., Moritz, T., Hvidsten, T. R., Trygg, J., & Wingsle, G. (2016). Quantitative proteomics reveals protein profiles underlying major transitions in aspen wood development. BMC Genomics, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-016-2458-z