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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Research Project #435196

Research Project: Characterization of Fruit Ripening at the Tissue and Cellular Level

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-050-002-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Jan 31, 2024

The ripening of fleshy fruits is critical to achieving optimal flavor, appearance, storage and nutrient qualities. Tomato is a model system for fleshy fruit biology and to date much analysis of ripening has focused on the fleshy pericarp tissue comprising much of the consumed fruit. However, recent evidence suggests that ripening processes are not uniform through the pericarp tissue nor through other fruit tissues. Our objective is to analyze ripening at the tissue and cellular level using laser capture microdissection and subsequent analysis of transcriptome and metabolic activities for both cultivated and wild tomato species including the wild progenitor of the cultivated tomato, Solanum pimpinellifolium. Resulting data will be released to the public via available databases such as solgenomics and the Tomato Expression Atlas.

Tomato fruit from cultivated and wild species will be tagged at anthesis and monitored for ripening and harvested at the mature green, breaker (early ripening), 50% red, full red and over-ripe (20 days post breaker) stages. Additional fruit will be tagged at anthesis for harvest at pre-ripening (immature) stages defined based on the breaker stage timing based on initial fruit. Tissues will be hand sectioned and frozen in liquid nitrogen. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) will be used to separate pericarp cell layers (inner and outer epidermis, vasculature, parenchyma) from cultivated and wild species genotypes. Plants will be grown and fruit harvested in the ARS lab while LCM and additional tissue isolation will be done in the Cornell lab, RNA and metabolites will be extracted in the ARS lab. Computational analysis will be handled in the ARS lab. Metabolite profiling will be done through the Cornell lab. Data analysis and manuscript preparation will be done in both labs as shared effort.