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UV-B-induced molecular mechanisms of stress physiology responses in the major northern Chinese conifer Pinus tabuliformis Carr.

  • Xu, Jie1
  • Nie, Shuai1
  • Xu, Chao-Qun1
  • Liu, Hui1
  • Jia, Kai-Hua1
  • Zhou, Shan-Shan1
  • Zhao, Wei1, 2
  • Zhou, Xian-Qing3
  • El-Kassaby, Yousry A4
  • Wang, Xiao-Ru1, 2
  • Porth, Ilga5
  • Mao, Jian-Feng1
  • 1 Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, Key Laboratory of Genetics and Breeding in Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants, Ministry of Education, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, 35 Qinghua E Rd, Beijing 100083, China. , (China)
  • 2 Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå Plant Science Centre, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 3 Qigou State-owned Forest Farm, Qigou Village, Qigou Town, Pingquan County, Chengde City, Hebei Province, 067509, China. , (China)
  • 4 Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada. , (Canada)
  • 5 Départment des Sciences du Bois et de la Forêt, Faculté de Foresterie, de Géographie et Géomatique, Université Laval Québec, 1030 Avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. , (Canada)
Published Article
Tree Physiology
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Jul 05, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpaa180
PMID: 33416074


During their lifetimes, plants are exposed to different abiotic stress factors eliciting various physiological responses and triggering important defense processes. For UV-B radiation responses in forest trees, the genetics and molecular regulation remain to be elucidated. Here, we exposed Pinus tabuliformis Carr., a major conifer from northern China, to short-term high-intensity UV-B and employed a systems biology approach to characterize the early physiological processes and the hierarchical gene regulation, which revealed a temporal transition from primary to secondary metabolism, the buildup of enhanced antioxidant capacity and stress-signaling activation. Our findings showed that photosynthesis and biosynthesis of photosynthetic pigments were inhibited, while flavonoids and their related derivates biosynthesis, as well as glutathione and glutathione S-transferase mediated antioxidant processes, were enhanced. Likewise, stress-related phytohormones (jasmonic acid, salicylic acid and ethylene), kinase and reactive oxygen species signal transduction pathways were activated. Biological processes regulated by auxin and karrikin were, for the first time, found to be involved in plant defense against UV-B by promoting the biosynthesis of flavonoids and the improvement of antioxidant capacity in our research system. Our work evaluated the physiological and transcriptome perturbations in a conifer's response to UV-B, and generally, highlighted the necessity of a systems biology approach in addressing plant stress biology. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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