Ray parenchymal cells contribute to lignification of tracheids in developing xylem of Norway spruce
Plant Physiol. 2019 Sep 26 [Epub ahead of print]
Blokhina O, Laitinen T, Hatakeyama Y, Delhomme N, Paasela T, Zhao L, Street NR, Wada H, Karkonen A, Fagerstedt KV

Abstract
A comparative transcriptomic study and a single-cell metabolome analysis were combined to determine whether parenchymal ray cells contribute to the biosynthesis of monolignols in the lignifying xylem of Norway spruce (Picea abies). Ray parenchymal cells may function in the lignification of upright tracheids by supplying monolignols. To test this hypothesis, parenchymal ray cells and upright tracheids were dissected with laser capture microdissection from tangential cryosections of developing xylem of spruce trees. The transcriptome analysis revealed that among the genes involved in processes typical for vascular tissues, genes encoding cell wall biogenesis-related enzymes were highly expressed in both developing tracheids and ray cells. Interestingly, most of the shikimate and monolignol biosynthesis pathway-related genes were equally expressed in both cell types. Nonetheless, 1073 differentially expressed genes were detected between developing ray cells and tracheids, among which a set of genes expressed only in ray cells was identified. In situ single cell metabolomics of semi-intact plants by picolitre pressure-probe-electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry (picoPPESI-MS) detected monolignols and their glycoconjugates in both cell types, indicating that the biosynthetic route for monolignols is active in both upright tracheids and parenchymal ray cells. The data strongly support the hypothesis that in developing xylem, ray cells produce monolignols that contribute to lignification of tracheid cell walls.

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