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Effects of Cutting, Pruning, and Grafting on the Expression of Age-Related Genes in Larix kaempferi

Sciprofile linkYao Zhang, Sciprofile linkQiao-Lu Zang, Sciprofile linkLi-Wang Qi, Sciprofile linkSu-Ying Han, Sciprofile linkWan-Feng Li
Published: 14 February 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Forests
Forests , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/f11020218

Abstract: Grafting, cutting, and pruning are important horticultural techniques widely used in the establishment of clonal forestry. After the application of these techniques, some properties of the plants change, however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still unclear. In our previous study, 27 age-related transcripts were found to be expressed differentially between the juvenile vegetative (1- and 2-year-old) and adult reproductive (25- and 50-year-old) phases of Larix kaempferi. Here, we re-analyzed the 27 age-related transcripts, cloned their full-length cDNA sequences, and measured their responses to grafting, cutting, and pruning. After sequence analysis and cloning, 20 transcription factors were obtained and annotated, most of which were associated with reproductive development, and six (LaAGL2-1, LaAGL2-2, LaAGL2-3, LaSOC1-1, LaAGL11, and LaAP2-2) showed regular expression patterns with L. kaempferi aging. Based on the expression patterns of these transcription factors in L. kaempferi trees subjected to grafting, cutting, and pruning, we concluded that (1) cutting and pruning rejuvenate the plants and change their expression, and the effects of cutting on gene expression are detectable within 14 years, although the cutting seedlings are still maturing during these years; (2) within three months after grafting, the rootstock is more sensitive to grafting than the scion and readily becomes mature with the effect of the scion, while the scion is not readily rejuvenated by the effect of the rootstock; and (3) LaAGL2-2 and LaAGL2-3 are more sensitive to grafting, while LaAP2-2 is impervious to it. These findings not only provide potential molecular markers to assess the state of plants but also aid in studies of the molecular mechanisms of rejuvenation.
Keywords: gene expression / vegetative propagation / rejuvenation / larch / Horticultural Technique

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