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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Victor B Busov


Auxin is a key regulator in plant growth and development. This dissertation examines the role of auxin and polar auxin transport in woody growth and development. Strategies of promoter reporter system, microarray expression analysis, transgenic modification, physiological assays, anatomical analysis, and histochemical/biochemical assays were employed to improve our understanding of auxin study in Populus. The results demonstrate various aspects of auxin regulation on shoot growth, root development, wood formation, and gravitropism in woody tissues.

We describe the behavior of the DR5 reporter system for measuring auxin concentrations and response in stably transformed Populus trees. Our study shows that DR5 reporter system can be efficiently used in Populus to study auxin biology at a cellular resolution. We investigated the global gene expression in responding to auxin in Populus root. The results revealed groups of IBA up- and down- regulated genes involved in various biological processes including cell wall modification, root growth and lateral root formation, transporter activity and hormone crosstalk. We also verify two of the identified genes' function by transgenic modification in Populus, which encode auxin efflux carrier PtPIN9 and transcription factor PtERF72.

We investigated the role of PtPIN9 in woody growth and development, especially in wood formation and gravitropic response in woody stem. We found that overexpressing PtPIN9 enhanced several growth parameters while suppression of PtPIN9 has inhibited tension wood formation. Our results show that PIN9 and other members from PIN family could be possible useful tools for increasing biomass productivity, wood quality, or in modifying plant form.