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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Adaptive strategies of Scots pine under shade: Increase in lignin synthesis and ecotypic variation in defense-related gene expression

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

Abstract

Shade is a stressful condition for plants characterized by low Red:Far-Red (R:FR) ratio. The northern latitudes in Sweden daily receive more hours of FR-enriched light (twilight) or shade-like conditions compared to southern forests during the growing season. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is a shade-intolerant species. Yet, it is well adapted to this latitudinal variation in light, which is evident by a northward increase in FR requirement to maintain growth. Shade adversely affects plant growth; it makes the plant weak and, therefore, susceptible to pathogen attack. Lignin is involved in plant protection against pathogen invasion mainly by forming a physical barrier. We studied lignin synthesis and expression of defense-related genes (growth-defense trade-offs) under a low R:FR (shade) ratio in Scots pine. A higher number of immunity/defense-related genes were up-regulated in response to shade in northern populations compared to southern ones, which can be viewed as a local adaptation to light quality for optimal growth and survival. Light quality regulates lignin metabolism; light stimulates lignin synthesis, while shade causes a decrease in lignin synthesis in most angiosperms. In contrast, Scots pine shows an increase in lignin synthesis supported by the higher expression of a few key genes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway, a novel finding reported by our study. These findings can be applied to future breeding strategies in forestry to produce disease-resilient trees.

Published in

Physiologia Plantarum
2022, volume: 174, number: 5, article number: e13792
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Ranade, Sonali Sachin (Ranade, Sonali)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Seipel, George
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Gorzsas, Andras
Umea University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Botany

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ppl.13792

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/119457