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Forskningsartikel2022Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Enhanced lignin synthesis and ecotypic variation in defense-related gene expression in response to shade in Norway spruce

Ranade, Sonali Sachin; Seipel, George; Gorzsas, Andras; Garcia-Gil, Maria Rosario


During the growth season, northern forests in Sweden daily receive more hours of far-red (FR)-enriched light or twilight (shade) as compared to southern forests. Norway spruce (shade-tolerant) are adapted to latitudinal variation in twilight characterized by a northward increase in FR requirement to maintain growth. Shade is a stressful condition that affects plant growth and increases plant's susceptibility to pathogen attack. Lignin plays a central role in plant defense and its metabolism is regulated by light wavelength composition (light quality). In the current work, we studied regulation of lignin synthesis and defense-related genes (growth-defense trade-offs) in response to shade in Norway spruce. In most angiosperms, light promotes lignin synthesis, whereas shade decreases lignin production leading to weaker stem, which may make plants more disease susceptible. In contrast, enhanced lignin synthesis was detected in response to shade in Norway spruce. We detected a higher number of immunity/defense-related genes up-regulated in northern populations as compared to south ones in response to shade. Enhanced lignin synthesis coupled with higher defense-related gene expression can be interpreted as an adaptive strategy for better survival in northern populations. Findings will contribute to ensuring deployment of well-adapted genetic material and identifying tree families with enhanced disease resistance.


conifer; immunity; light quality; local adaptation; R; FR ratio; RNA sequencing; latitudinal cline; disease resistance; red light; far-red light

Publicerad i

Plant, Cell and Environment
2022, Volym: 45, nummer: 9, sidor: 2671-2681
Utgivare: WILEY