Poplar wood is the main source of renewable biomass energy worldwide, and is also considered to be a model system for studying woody plants. The Full-length cDNA Over-eXpressing (FOX) gene hunting system is an effective method for generating gain-of-function mutants. Large numbers of novel genes have successfully been identified from many herbaceous plants according to the phenotype of gain-of-function mutants under normal or abiotic stress conditions using this system. However, the system has not been used for functional gene identification with high-throughput mutant screening in woody plants. In this study, we constructed a FOX library from the Chinese white poplar, Populus tomentosa. The poplar cDNA library was constructed into the plant expression vector pEarleyGate101 and further transformed into Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress). We collected 1749 T1 transgenic plants identified by PCR. Of these, 593 single PCR bands from different transgenic lines were randomly selected for sequencing, and 402 diverse sequences of poplar genes were isolated. Most of these genes were involved in photosynthesis, environmental adaptation, and ribosome biogenesis based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway annotation. We characterized in detail two mutant lines carrying PtoCPCa or PtoWRKY13 cDNA insertions. Phenotypic characterization showed that overexpression of these genes in A. thaliana affected trichome development or secondary cell wall (SCW) deposition, respectively. Together, the Populus-FOX-Arabidopsis library generated in our experiments will be helpful for efficient discovery of novel genes in poplar.
Chemistry and Pharmacology