Over-expression of poplar NAC15 gene enhances wood formation in transgenic tobacco

Wenjing Yao, Dawei Zhang, Boru Zhou*, Jianping Wang, Renhua Li, Tingbo Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: NAC (NAM/ATAF/CUC) is one of the largest plant-specific transcription factor (TF) families known to play significant roles in wood formation. Acting as master gene regulators, a few NAC genes can activate secondary wall biosynthesis during wood formation in woody plants. Results: In the present study, firstly, we screened 110 differentially expressed NAC genes in the leaves, stems, and roots of di-haploid Populus simonii×P. nigra by RNA-Seq. Then we identified a nucleus-targeted gene, NAC15 gene, which was one of the highly expressed genes in the stem among 110 NAC family members. Thirdly, we conducted expression pattern analysis of NAC15 gene, and observed NAC15 gene was most highly expressed in the xylem by RT-qPCR. Moreover, we transferred NAC15 gene into tobacco and obtained 12 transgenic lines overexpressing NAC15 gene (TLs). And the relative higher content of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin was observed in the TLs compared to the control lines containing empty vector (CLs). It also showed darker staining in the culms of the TLs with phloroglucinol staining, compared to the CLs. Furthermore, the relative expression level of a few lignin- and cellulose-related genes was significantly higher in the TLs than that in the CLs. Conclusions: The overall results indicated that NAC15 gene is highly expressed in the xylem of poplar and may be a potential candidate gene playing an important role in wood formation in transgenic tobacco.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Lignin
  • NAC
  • Populus simonii×P. nigra
  • Transcription factor
  • Wood formation


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