Cell-type-specific PtrWOX4a and PtrVCS2 Form a Regulatory Nexus with a Histone Modification System for Stem Cambium Development in Populus trichocarpa
Published:30 Jan.2023    Source:Nature Plants
Stem vascular cambium cells in forest trees produce wood for materials and energy. WOX4 affects the proliferation of such cells in Populus. Here we show that PtrWOX4a is the most highly expressed stem vascular-cambium-specific (VCS) gene in P. trichocarpa, and its expression is controlled by the product of the second most highly expressed VCS gene, PtrVCS2, encoding a zinc finger protein. PtrVCS2 binds to the PtrWOX4a promoter as part of a PtrWOX13a–PtrVCS2–PtrGCN5-1–PtrADA2b-3 protein tetramer. PtrVCS2 prevented the interaction between PtrGCN5-1 and PtrADA2b-3, resulting in H3K9, H3K14 and H3K27 hypoacetylation at the PtrWOX4a promoter, which led to fewer cambium cell layers. These effects on cambium cell proliferation were consistent across more than 20 sets of transgenic lines overexpressing individual genes, gene-edited mutants and RNA interference lines in P. trichocarpa. We propose that the tetramer–PtrWOX4a system may coordinate genetic and epigenetic regulation to maintain normal vascular cambium development for wood formation.