Bud formation is an adaptive trait that temperate forest trees have acquired to facilitate seasonal synchronization. We have characterized transcriptome-level changes that occur during bud formation of white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss], a primarily determinate species in which preformed stem units contained within the apical bud constitute most of next season's growth. Microarray analysis identified 4460 differentially expressed sequences in shoot tips during short day-induced bud formation. Cluster analysis revealed distinct temporal patterns of expression, and functional classification of genes in these clusters implied molecular processes that coincide with anatomical changes occurring in the developing bud. Comparing expression profiles in developing buds under long day and short day conditions identified possible photoperiod-responsive genes that may not be essential for bud development. Several genes putatively associated with hormone signalling were identified, and hormone quantification revealed distinct profiles for abscisic acid (ABA), cytokinins, auxin and their metabolites that can be related to morphological changes to the bud. Comparison of gene expression profiles during bud formation in different tissues revealed 108 genes that are differentially expressed only in developing buds and show greater transcript abundance in developing buds than other tissues. These findings provide a temporal roadmap of bud formation in white spruce.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.