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author:("Song, yuefeng")
1.  Effects of high temperature on photosynthesis and related gene expression in poplar 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:111.
High temperature, whether transitory or constant, causes physiological, biochemical and molecular changes that adversely affect tree growth and productivity by reducing photosynthesis. To elucidate the photosynthetic adaption response and examine the recovery capacity of trees under heat stress, we measured gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, electron transport, water use efficiency, and reactive oxygen-producing enzyme activities in heat-stressed plants.
We found that photosynthesis could completely recover after less than six hours of high temperature treatment, which might be a turning point in the photosynthetic response to heat stress. Genome-wide gene expression analysis at six hours of heat stress identified 29,896 differentially expressed genes (15,670 up-regulated and 14,226 down-regulated), including multiple classes of transcription factors. These interact with each other and regulate the expression of photosynthesis-related genes in response to heat stress, controlling carbon fixation and changes in stomatal conductance. Heat stress of more than twelve hours caused reduced electron transport, damaged photosystems, activated the glycolate pathway and caused H2O2 production; as a result, photosynthetic capacity did not recover completely.
This study provides a systematic physiological and global gene expression profile of the poplar photosynthetic response to heat stress and identifies the main limitations and threshold of photosynthesis under heat stress. It will expand our understanding of plant thermostability and provides a robust dataset for future studies.
PMCID: PMC4036403  PMID: 24774695
Photosynthesis; Gene expression profile; Heat stress; Populus simonii
2.  Variation in Genomic Methylation in Natural Populations of Chinese White Poplar 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63977.
It is thought that methylcytosine can be inherited through meiosis and mitosis, and that epigenetic variation may be under genetic control or correlation may be caused by neutral drift. However, DNA methylation also varies with tissue, developmental stage, and environmental factors. Eliminating these factors, we analyzed the levels and patterns, diversity and structure of genomic methylcytosine in the xylem of nine natural populations of Chinese white poplar.
Principal Findings
On average, the relative total methylation and non-methylation levels were approximately 26.567% and 42.708% (P<0.001), respectively. Also, the relative CNG methylation level was higher than the relative CG methylation level. The relative methylation/non-methylation levels were significantly different among the nine natural populations. Epigenetic diversity ranged from 0.811 (Gansu) to 1.211 (Shaanxi), and the coefficients of epigenetic differentiation (GST = 0.159) were assessed by Shannon’s diversity index. Co-inertia analysis indicated that methylation-sensitive polymorphism (MSP) and genomic methylation pattern (CG-CNG) profiles gave similar distributions. Using a between-group eigen analysis, we found that the Hebei and Shanxi populations were independent of each other, but the Henan population intersected with the other populations, to some degree.
Genome methylation in Populus tomentosa presented tissue-specific characteristics and the relative 5′-CCGG methylation level was higher in xylem than in leaves. Meanwhile, the genome methylation in the xylem shows great epigenetic variation and could be fixed and inherited though mitosis. Compared to genetic structure, data suggest that epigenetic and genetic variation do not completely match.
PMCID: PMC3660595  PMID: 23704963
3.  Sexual Dimorphism Floral MicroRNA Profiling and Target Gene Expression in Andromonoecious Poplar (Populus tomentosa) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62681.
Although the molecular basis of poplar sex-specific flower development remains largely unknown, increasing evidence indicates an essential role for microRNAs (miRNAs). The specific miRNA types and precise miRNA expression patterns in dioecious plant flower development remain unclear. Here, we used andromonoecious poplar, an exceptional model system, to eliminate the confounding effects of genetic background of dioecious plants. This system, combined with high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis, allowed us to characterize sex-specific miRNAomes from female and male flowers. Comparative miRNAome analysis combined with quantitative real-time PCR revealed the expression patterns of 27 miRNAs in poplar flower and showed that the targets of these miRNAs are involved in flower organogenesis, Ca2+ transport, phytohormone synthesis and metabolism, and DNA methylation. This paper describes a complex regulatory network consisting of these miRNAs expressed in sex-specific flower development in a dioecious plant. The conserved and novel miRNA locations were annotated in the Populus trichocarpa genome. Among these, miRNA Pto-F70 and 4 targets are located in the sex-determination regions of chromosome XIX. Furthermore, two novel miRNAs, Pto-F47 and Pto-F68, were shown for the first time to be regulatory factors in phytohormone interactions. To our knowledge, this report is the first systematic investigation of sex-specific flower-related miRNAs and their targets in poplar, and it deepens our understanding of the important regulatory functions of miRNAs in female and male flower development in this dioecious plant.
PMCID: PMC3646847  PMID: 23667507
4.  Transcriptional profiling by cDNA-AFLP analysis showed differential transcript abundance in response to water stress in Populus hopeiensis 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:286.
Drought is one of the main environmental factors limiting tree growth and productivity of plantation forests worldwide. Populus hopeiensis Hu et Chow is one of the most important commercial plantation tree species in China. However, the genes controlling drought tolerance in this species have not been identified or characterized. Here, we conducted differential expression analyses and identified a number of genes that were up- or downregulated in P. hopeiensis during water stress. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive study of differentially expressed genes in water-stressed P. hopeiensis.
Using the cDNA-AFLP detection technique, we used 256 primer combinations to identify differentially expressed genes in P. hopeiensis during water stress. In total, 415 transcript derived-fragments (TDFs) were obtained from 10× deep sequencing of 473 selected TDFs. Of the 415 TDFs, 412 were annotated by BLAST searches against various databases. The majority of these genes encoded products involved in ion transport and compartmentalization, cell division, metabolism, and protein synthesis. The TDFs were clustered into 12 groups on the basis of their expression patterns. Of the 415 reliable TDFs, the sequences of 35 were homologous to genes that play roles in short or long-term resistance to drought stress. Some genes were further selected for validation of cDNA-AFLP expression patterns using real-time PCR analyses. The results confirmed the expression patterns that were detected using the cDNA-AFLP technique.
The cDNA-AFLP technique is an effective and powerful tool for identifying candidate genes that are differentially expressed under water stress. We demonstrated that 415 TDFs were differentially expressed in water-stressed poplar. The products of these genes are involved in various biological processes in the drought response of poplar. The results of this study will aid in the identification of candidate genes of future experiments aimed at understanding this response of poplar.
PMCID: PMC3443059  PMID: 22747754

Results 1-4 (4)