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Circadian clock components control daily growth activities by modulating cytokinin levels and cell division-associated gene expression in Populus trees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Kieron D Edwards
  • Naoki Takata
  • Mikael Johansson
  • Manuela Jurca
  • Ondřej Novák
  • Eva Hényková
  • Silvia Liverani
  • Iwanka Kozarewa
  • Miroslav Strnad
  • Andrew J Millar
  • Karin Ljung
  • Maria E Eriksson

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    Rights statement: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2018 The Authors. Plant, Cell & Environment published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Early online date8 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018


Trees are carbon dioxide sinks and major producers of terrestrial biomass with distinct seasonal growth patterns. Circadian clocks enable the co-ordination of physiological and biochemical temporal activities, optimally regulating multiple traits including growth. To dissect the clock's role in growth, we analysed Populus tremula × P. tremuloides trees with impaired clock function due to down-regulation of central clock components. late elongated hypocotyl (lhy-10) trees, in which expression of LHY1 and LHY2 is reduced by RNAi, have a short free-running period and show disrupted temporal regulation of gene expression and reduced growth, producing 30-40% less biomass than wild-type trees. Genes important in growth regulation were expressed with an earlier phase in lhy-10, and CYCLIN D3 expression was misaligned and arrhythmic. Levels of cytokinins were lower in lhy-10 trees, which also showed a change in the time of peak expression of genes associated with cell division and growth. However, auxin levels were not altered in lhy-10 trees and the size of the lignification zone in the stem showed a relative increase. The reduced growth rate and anatomical features of lhy-10 trees were mainly caused by misregulation of cell division, which may have resulted from impaired clock function.

    Research areas

  • Biomass production, cell division, circadian clock, cytokinin, growth, lignification, Circadian, photoperiod, hormones

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