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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Age-dependent seasonal growth cessation in Populus

Liao, Xiaoli; Su, Yunjie; Klintenäs, Maria; et al.


In temperate and boreal regions, perennial plants adapt their annual growth cycle to the change of seasons. In natural forests, juvenile seedlings usually display longer growth seasons compared to adult trees to ensure their establishment and survival under can-opy  shade.  However,  how  trees  adjust  their  annual  growth  according  to  their  age  is  not  known.  In  this  study,  we  show  that  age- dependent  seasonal  growth  cessation  is  genetically  controlled  and  found  that  the  miR156- SPL3/5  module,  a  key  regulon  of  vegetative phase change (VPC), also triggers age- dependent growth cessation in Populustrees. We show that miR156 promotes shoot elongation during vegetative growth, and its targets SPL3/5s function in the same pathway but as repressors. We find that the miR156- SPL3/5s  regulon  controls  growth  cessation  in  both  leaves  and  shoot  apices  and  through  multiple  pathways,  but  with  a  different  mechanism  compared  to  how  the miR156- SPL regulon controls VPC in annual plants. Taken together, our results reveal an age- dependent genetic network in mediating seasonal growth cessation, a key phenological process in the climate adaptation of perennial trees.


tree phenology; age- dependency; bud set; bud break; climate adaptation

Published in

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2023, Volume: 120, number: 48, article number: e2311226120