Proteomics analysis reveals the molecular mechanism underlying the transition from primary to secondary growth of poplar.
Wood is derived from the secondary growth of tree stems. In this study, we investigated the global changes of protein abundance in Populus early stems using a proteomic approach. Morphological and histochemical analyses revealed three typical stages during Populus early stems, which were the primary growth stage, the transition stage from primary to secondary growth and the secondary growth stage. A total of 231 spots were differentially abundant during various growth stages of Populus early stems. During Populus early stem lignifications, 87 differential spots continuously increased, while 49 spots continuously decreased. These two categories encompass 58.9% of all differential spots, which suggests significant molecular changes from primary to secondary growth. Among 231 spots, 165 unique proteins were identified using LC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS, which were classified into 14 biological function groups. The proteomic characteristics indicated that carbohydrate metabolism, oxido-reduction, protein degradation and secondary cell wall metabolism were the dominantly occurring biochemical processes during Populus early stem development. This study helps in elucidating biochemical processes and identifies potential wood formation-related proteins during tree early stem development. It is a comprehensive proteomic investigation on tree early stem development that, for the first time, reveals the overall molecular networks that occur during Populus early stem lignifications.