Heritable epigenetic modification of BpPIN1 is associated with leaf shapes in Betula pendula

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


The new variety Betula pendula 'Dalecarlica' selected from Betula pendula, shows high ornamental values owing to its lobed leaf shape. In this study, to identify the genetic components of leaf shape formation, we performed bulked-segregant analysis (BSA) and molecular marker-based fine mapping to identify causal gene responsible for lobed leaves in B. pendula 'Dalecarlica'. The most significant variations associated with leaf shape were identified within the gene BpPIN1 encoding a member of PIN-FORMED family, responsible for the auxin efflux carrier. We further confirmed the hypomethylation at the promoter region promoting the expression level of BpPIN1, which cause stronger and longer veins and lobed leaf shape in B. pendula 'Dalecarlica'. These results indicated that DNA methylation at the BpPIN1 promoter region is associated with leaf shapes in Betula pendula. Our findings revealed an epigenetic mechanism of BpPIN1 in the regulation of leaf shape in birch, which could help in molecular breeding of ornamental traits.

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Tree physiology