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Su, Chang Strigolactone Regulation of Tree Architecture Poster
Chang Su1, Kaisa Nieminen2 and Ykä Helariutta3
(1) University of Helsinki, Finland(2) Finnish Natural Resources Institute, Finland(3) Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Birch (Betula pendula) is a pioneer forestry species, which broad geographical distribution in the Northern Hemisphere accompanies an extensive natural variation. Thus, the study of different tree architectures and wood traits could significantly improve forest breeding, forest management and wood harvesting. Therefore we created a collection of different birch natural variants. Here we focus on nine bushy phenotypes (“Kanttarelli”, “Luutakoivu”, “table birch”, “cloud birch”, “Luuta E8032”, “Peera 6”, “Peera 16”, “Peera 28”). From phenotyping analysis, we concluded they all have comprised primary growth and in most of them secondary growth is reduced compared to WT birches. After a candidate gene approach we identified in the Kanttarelli cultivar, a mutation that disrupts BpMAX1 gene which encodes a strigolactones (SLs) biosynthetic enzyme.

Birch BpMAX1 and its promoter are functionally conserved since they complement the Arabidopsis max1 mutant. To characterize the shoot phenotypes and understand how SLs affect tree architecture, we performed BpMAX1 knockdown in birch by RNAi technology and the trees showed bushy phenotype. We used National Plant Phenotyping Infrastructure to dissect 3D architectural characteristics of trees. Moreover, we found the key parameters to define tree architecture. Additionally, we found that BpMAX1 expression peaked in xylem through the whole stem. Interestingly, pBpMAX1::GUS marker line indicated that this expression specifically occurs in ray parenchyma cells, which might act as source of SL biosynthesis in trees.