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Changes in the Differentiation Program of Phloem Derivatives of Birch Cambium after Trunk Girdling
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1  Forest Research Institute of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Academic Editor: Feibo Wu


The processes of cambial activity and secondary xylem and phloem differentiation are completely dependent on the influx of photoassimates. Trunk girdling is a frequently used method for studying cambial growth under conditions of different assimilate supply. We girdled 20-year-old birch trees (Betula pendula Roth) and took samples 1 cm (AG1) and 35 cm above the girdle (AG35). Tissues of ungirdled trees served as control. A sharp increase in carbohydrates level (AG1) inhibited xylogenesis and stimulated phloemogenesis. A moderate increase (AG35) also stimulated phloemogenesis; however, xylogenesis continued. The activity of the APL gene encoding a phloem-specific transcription factor correlates with the active phloemogenesis, as it was 2.18 (AG1) and 3 (AG35) times higher than in control. The Suc gene encoding transmembrane sucrose transporter was up-regulated in the AG1 and AG35 zones by 2.24 and 2.51 times, respectively, compared with the control, which indicates an active sucrose loading into cells and correlates with the preferential differentiation of parenchyma. The activity of the PIN1 gene encoding the auxin transporter was highest in zone AG35 (2.1 times higher than in the control). In zone AG1, the PIN1 activity was 1.7 times lower than that of AG35, which corresponds to the impaired differentiation of the phloem sieve tubes. The data obtained can be useful for a better understanding of physiological processes and predicting changes in the forest productivity under conditions of a changing climate.

Keywords: phloemogenesis; sclereids; parenchyma; source-sink relationship; APL