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Article|26 Sep 2023|OPEN
Spatiotemporal miRNA and transcriptomic network dynamically regulate the developmental and senescence processes of poplar leaves
Kang Du1 , Shenxiu Jiang1 , Hao Chen1 , Yufei Xia1 , Ruihua Guo1 , Aoyu Ling1 , Ting Liao2 , Wenqi Wu3 and Xiangyang Kang,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, National Engineering Research Center of Tree Breeding and Ecological Restoration, College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2Institute of Forestry and Pomology, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
3Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad186 (2023)
Views: 136

Received: 05 Apr 2023
Accepted: 07 Sep 2023
Published online: 26 Sep 2023


Poplar is an important afforestation and urban greening species. Poplar leaf development occurs in stages, from young to mature and then from mature to senescent; these are accompanied by various phenotypic and physiological changes. However, the associated transcriptional regulatory network is relatively unexplored. We first used principal component analysis to classify poplar leaves at different leaf positions into two stages: developmental maturity (the stage of maximum photosynthetic capacity); and the stage when photosynthetic capacity started to decline and gradually changed to senescence. The two stages were then further subdivided into five intervals by gene expression clustering analysis: young leaves, the period of cell genesis and functional differentiation (L1); young leaves, the period of development and initial formation of photosynthetic capacity (L3–L7); the period of maximum photosynthetic capacity of functional leaves (L9–L13); the period of decreasing photosynthetic capacity of functional leaves (L15–L27); and the period of senescent leaves (L29). Using a weighted co-expression gene network analysis of regulatory genes, high-resolution spatiotemporal transcriptional regulatory networks were constructed to reveal the core regulators that regulate leaf development. Spatiotemporal transcriptome data of poplar leaves revealed dynamic changes in genes and miRNAs during leaf development and identified several core regulators of leaf development, such as GRF5 and MYB5. This in-depth analysis of transcriptional regulation during leaf development provides a theoretical basis for exploring the biological basis of the transcriptional regulation of leaf development and the molecular design of breeding for delaying leaf senescence.