Carl Douglas

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Photo by: Elaine Simons Lane
Professor Emeritus

BA Lewis and Clark College (1976);
M.Sc., Univ. Washington;
Ph.D., Univ. Washington (1983);
Postdoctoral Fellow, Univ. Washington (1983-1984) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne, Germany (1985-1987)

Research Interests

The areas of research in my lab concern the regulation of plant gene expression, plant phenylpropanoid and related natural products, secondary cell wall development, pollen wall formation, Populus (poplar) genomics and molecular biology, and cellulosic biofuels, and the genetics and of local adaptation to environment. We use Arabidopsis and poplar trees as our experiemental systems.

Research in my lab is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant, the NSERC CREATE program “Working on Walls”, and by Genome Canada.

Examples of research topics:
Transcriptional regulation of secondary wall formation. We use the Arabidopsis inflorescence stem as a model to investigate transcription factors and transcription factor complexes that are part of a network regulating secondary cell wall deposition. We have identified poplar orthologs of these genes and are studying their functions in wood development

Pollen wall formation. Our survey of phenylpropanoid-like genes in Arabidopsis and other plants revealed several that are involved in biosynthesis of sporopollenin, a poorly understood, robust, polyester/polyether polymer that forms the exine of pollen walls. We are investigating tapetum-expressed genes encoding enzymes involved sporopollenin biosynthesis, enzyme functions, and mechanisms of sporopollenin transport from the tapetum to the locule in developing anthers

Poplar genomics and improvement of poplar as a cellulosic biofuel. Through the Genome Canada Treenomix I project, we participated in a multi-national project to sequence the Populus trichocarpa genome and develop genomic tools for poplar. Current wrok ih this area in the Genome Canada POPCAN collaborative project involving several labs at UBC, University of Victoria and University of Toronto involves detailed investigation of genes that may impact wood and biofuel traits in poplar. This work involves SNP genotyping and whole genome and transcriptome reseqeuncing at the poplation level for P. trichochapa and the related sisier species P. balsamifera, and extensive wood and adaptive/biomass trait phenotyping of replicated trials of wild individuals grown in common gardens. Current projects include identification and functional analysis of candidate genes that affect wood properties and are important for the evolution of adaptation to environment, and network analysis of co-expressed genes.

Selected Publications

Liu Y and Douglas CJ. 2015.  A role for OVATE FAMILY PROTEIN1 (OFP1) and OFP4 in a BLH6-KNAT7 multi-protein complex regulating secondary cell wall formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Signaling and Behavior, in press

Geraldes A, Hefer CA, Capron A, Kolosova N, Martinez-Nuñez F, Soolanayakanahally RY, Stanton B, Guy RD, Mansfield SD, Douglas CJ and Cronk QCB. 2015. Recent Y chromosome divergence despite ancient origin of dioecy in poplars (Populus). Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/mec.13126

 Muchero W, Guo J, DiFazio SP, Chen J-G, Ranjan P, Slavov GT, Gunter LE, Jawdy S, Bryan AC, Sykes R, Ziebell A, Klápště J, Porth I, Skyba O, Unda F, El-Kassaby YA, Douglas CJ, Mansfield SD, Martin J, Schackwitz W, Evans LM, Czarnecki O and Tuskan GA. 2015. High-resolution genetic mapping of allelic variants associated with cell wall chemistry in Populus. BMC Genomics 16:24 

Hefer CA, Mizrachi E, Myburg AA, Douglas CJ and Mansfield SD. 2015. Comparative interrogation of the developing xylem transcriptomes of two wood-forming species: Populus trichocarpa and Eucalyptus grandis. New Phytologist, doi:10.1111/nph.13277

Liu Y, You S, Taylor-Teeples M, Li WL, Schuetz M, Brady SM, and Douglas CJ. 2014. BEL1-LIKE HOMEODOMAIN6 and KNOTTED ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA7 interact and regulate secondary cell wall formation via repression of REVOLUTA. Plant Cell 26, 4843-4861.

Quilichini TD, Samuels AL, and Douglas CJ. 2014. ABCG26-mediated polyketide trafficking and hydroxycinnamoyl spermidines contribute to pollen wall exine formation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 26, 4483-4498.

Wang S, Eryang L, Porth I, Chen J-G, Mansfield SD and Douglas CJ. 2014. Regulation of secondary cell wall biosynthesis by poplar R2R3 MYB transcription factor PtrMYB152 in Arabidopsis. Scientific Reports, 4, 5054.

Huang DI, Hefer CA, Kolosova N, Douglas CJ, and Cronk QCB. 2014. Whole plastome sequencing reveals deep plastid divergence and cytonuclear discordance between closely related balsam poplars, Populus balsamifera and P. trichocarpa (Salicaceae). New Phytologist 204, 693-703.

Geraldes A, Farzaneh N, Grassa CJ, McKown AD, Guy RD, Mansfield SD, Douglas CJ, and Cronk QCB. 2014. Landscape genomics of Populus trichocarpa: the role of hybridization, limited gene flow and natural selection in shaping patterns of population structure. Evolution 68, 3260-3280.

Quilichini TD, Grienenberger E, and Douglas CJ. 2014. The biosynthesis, composition and assembly of the outer pollen wall: a tough case to crack. Phytochemistry, 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.05.002

Quilichini TD, Douglas CJ, and Samuels AL. 2014. New views of tapetum ultrastructure and pollen exine development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Annals of Botany, 10.1093/aob/mcu042

McKown AD, Klápště J, Guy RD, Geraldes A, Porth I, Hannemann J, Friedmann M, Muchero W, Tuskan GA, Ehlting J, Cronk QCB, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD and Douglas CJ. 2014. Genome-wide association implicates numerous genes underlying ecological trait variation in natural populations of Populus trichocarpa. New Phytologist: 203, 535-553

Porth I, Klápšte J, McKown AD, La Mantia J, Hamelin JC, Skyba O, Unda F, Friedmann MC, Cronk QCB, Ehlting J, Guy RD, Mansfield SD, El-Kassaby YA and Douglas CJ. 2014. Extensive functional pleiotropy of REVOLUTA substantiated through forward genetics. Plant Physiol. 164, 548–554.

Grienenberger E and Douglas CJ. 2014. Arabidopsis VASCULAR-RELATED UNKNOWN PROTEIN 1 regulates xylem development and growth by a conserved mechanism that modulates hormone signaling.  Plant Physiology 164:1991-2010

McKown AD, Guy RD, Klápště J, Geraldes A, Friedmann M, Cronk QC, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD, Douglas CJ. 2014. Geographical and environmental gradients shape phenotypic trait variation and genetic structure in Populus trichocarpa. New Phytol. 20, 1263-76.

La Mantia J, Klapste J, El-Kassaby YA, Azam S, Guy RD, Douglas CJ, Mansfield SD, and Hamelin R. 2013. Association analysis identifies Melampsora X columbiana poplar leaf rust resistance SNPs. PLoS ONE 8: e78423.

Bao H, Li E, Mansfield SD, Cronk QC, El-Kassaby YA, and Douglas CJ. 2013. The developing xylem transcriptome and genome-wide analysis of alternative splicing in Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood) populations. BMC Genomics 14, 359 

Porth I, Klapšte J, Skyba O, Hannemann J, McKown AD,  Guy RD,  DiFazio  SP, Muchero W, Ranjan P, Tuskan GA, Friedmann MC, Ehlting J, Cronk QCB, El-Kassaby YA,  Douglas CJ and Mansfield SD. 2013. Genome-wide association mapping for wood characteristics in Populus identifies an array of candidate SNPs. New Phytologist 200:710-726

Porth I, Klapšte J, Skyba O, Friedmann MC, Hannemann J, Ehlting J, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD and Douglas CJ. 2013. Network analysis reveals the relationship between wood properties, gene expression levels and genotypes of natural Populus trichocarpa accessions. New Phytologist 200, 727-742 

Bhargava A , Ahad A, Wang S, Mansfield SD, Haughn GW, Douglas CJ and Ellis BE. 2013. The interacting MYB75 and KNAT7 transcription factors modulate secondary cell wall deposition both in stems and seed coat in Arabidopsis. Planta 237:1199–1211 

You M, Yue Z, He W, Yang X, Yang G, Xie M, Zhan D, Baxter SW, Vasseur L, Gurr GM, Douglas CJ et al. 2013. A heterozygous moth genome provides insights into herbivory and detoxification. Nature Genetics 45: 220-225.

Geraldes A, Difazio SP, Slavov GT, Ranjan P, Muchero W, Hannemann J, Gunter LE, Wymore AM, Grassa CJ, Farzaneh N, Porth I, McKown AD, Skyba O, Li E, Fujita M, Klapste J, Martin J, Schackwitz W, Pennacchio C, Rokhsar D, Friedmann MC, Wasteneys GO, Guy RD, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD, Cronk QC, Ehlting J, Douglas CJ and Tuskan GA. 2013. A 34K SNP genotyping array for Populus trichocarpa: Design, application to the study of natural populations and transferability to other Populus species. Molecular Ecology Resources. 13:306-323

Porth I, Klapste J, Skyba O, Lai BS, Geraldes A, Muchero W, Tuskan GA, Douglas CJ, El-Kassaby YA and Mansfield SD. 2013. Populus trichocarpa cell wall chemistry and ultrastructure trait variation, genetic control and genetic correlations. New Phytologist 197: 777-790.

Slavov GT, DiFazio SP, Martin J, Schackwitz W, Muchero W, Rodgers-Melnick E, Lipphardt MF, Pennacchio CP, Hellsten U, Pennacchio LA, Gunter LE, Ranjan P, Vining K, Pomraning KR, Wilhelm LJ, Pellegrini M, Mockler TC, Freitag M, Geraldes A, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD, Cronk QC, Douglas CJ, Strauss SH, Rokhsar D and Tuskan GA. 2012. Genome resequencing reveals multiscale geographic structure and extensive linkage disequilibrium in the forest tree Populus trichocarpa. New Phytologist 196: 713-725.

Li E, Bhargava A,  Qiang W, Friedmann MC, Forneris N, Savidge RA, Johnson LA, Mansfield SD, Ellis BE, and Douglas CJ. 2012. The Class II KNOX gene KNAT7 negatively regulates secondary wall formation in Arabidopsis and is functionally conserved in Populus. New Phytologist 194, 102-115.

Li, E., Wang, S., Liu, Y., Chen, J.G. and Douglas, C.J. 2011. OVATE FAMILY PROTEIN4 (OFP4) interaction with KNAT7 regulates secondary cell wall formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Journal  67, 328–341

Geraldes A, Pang J, Thiessen N, Cezard T, Moore R, Zhao Y, Tam A, Wang S, Friedmann M, Birol I, Jones SJM, Cronk QCB, and Douglas CJ. 2011. SNP discovery in black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) by population transcriptome resequencing. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11 (S1), 81-92.

Kim SS, Grienenberger E, Lallemand B, Colpitts CC, Kim SY, de Azevedo Souza C, Geoffroy P, Heintz D, Krahn D, Kaiser M, Kombrink E, Heitz T, Suh D-Y, Legrand M and Douglas CJ. 2010. LAP6/POLYKETIDE SYNTHASE A and LAP5/POLYKETIDE SYNTHASE B encode hydroxyalkyl a-pyrone synthases required for pollen development and sporopollenin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell 22, 4045-4066.

Grienenberger E, Kim S., Lallemand B, Geoffroy P, Heintz D, de Azevedo Souza,C, Heitz T, Douglas CJ and Legrand M. 2010. Analysis of TETRAKETIDE ALPHA-PYRONE REDUCTASE function in Arabidopsis thaliana reveals a previously unknown, but conserved, biochemical pathway in sporopollenin monomer biosynthesis. Plant Cell 22, 4067 – 40

Kim J-E, Cheng KM, Craft NE, Hamberger B, and Douglas CJ. 2010. Overexpression of Arabidopsis thaliana carotenoid hydroxylases individually and in combination with a ß-carorotene ketolase provides new insights into in vivo functions. Phytochemistry, 71, 168–178

Polle,  A and Douglas C. 2010. The molecular physiology of poplars: paving the way for knowledge-based biomass production. Plant Biology 12, 239-241

Quilichini TD, Friedmann MC, Samuels AL and Douglas CJ. 2010. ATP-binding cassette transporter G26 (ABCG26) is required for male fertility and pollen exine formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol 154, 678–690

Bhargava A, Mansfield SD, Hall HC, Douglas CJ and Ellis BE. 2010. MYB75 functions in regulation of secondary cell wall formation in the Arabidopsis inflorescence stem. Plant Physiol 154, 1428-38.

de Azevedo Souza C, Kim SS,  Koch, S, Kienow L, Schneider K, McKim SM, Haughn GW, Kombrink E, and Douglas CJ. 2009. A novel fatty acyl-coenzyme A synthetase (ACOS5) is required for pollen development and sporopollenin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.  Plant Cell 21, 507-525.

Gilchrist EJ, Haughn GW. Ying CC, Otto SP, Zhuang J, Cheung D, Hamberger B, Aboutorabi F, Kalynyak T, Johnson L, Bohlmann J, Ellis, BE, Douglas CJ and Cronk QCB. 2006. Use of Ecotilling as an efficient SNP discovery tool to survey genetic variation in wild populations of Populus trichocarpa. Mol. Ecol. 15, 1367-1378.

Ehlting J, Mattheus N, Aeschliman DS, Li E, Hamberger B, Cullis IF, Zhuang J, Kaneda M, Mansfield SD, Samuels AL, Ritland K, Ellis BE, Bohlmann J, and Douglas CJ. 2005. Global transcript profiling of primary stems from Arabidopsis thaliana identifies candidate genes for missing links in lignin biosynthesis and transcriptional regulators of fiber differentiation. Plant J. 42, 618-640.

Tuskan G, et al. (CJ Douglas one of 5 senior authors) (2006). The genome of black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa (Torr & Gray ex. Brayshaw). Science 313, 1596-1604.