|LEE, JE MIN - Boyce Thompson Institute|
|JOUNG, JE-GUN - Boyce Thompson Institute|
|MCQUINN, RYAN - Cornell University|
|CHUNG, MI-YOUNG - Boyce Thompson Institute|
|FEI, ZHANGJUN - Boyce Thompson Institute|
|TIEMAN, DENISE - University Of Florida|
|KLEE, HARRY - University Of Florida|
Submitted to: Plant Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2011
Publication Date: 1/5/2012
Citation: Lee, J., Joung, J., Mcquinn, R., Chung, M., Fei, Z., Tieman, D., Klee, H., Giovannoni, J.J. 2012. Combined transcriptome, genetic diversity and metabolite profiling in tomato fruit reveals the ethylene response factor SlERF6 to play an important role in ripening and carotenoid accumulation. Plant Journal. 70:191-204.
Interpretive Summary: Tomato is an important crop with substantial and growing economic and nutritional impact and is the most studied fruit for fleshy fruit biology. Fruit ripening is a genetically programmed process that is modified by both internal and external cues. We identified candidate ripening/nutrient content genes based on correlation analyses and identified a potential regulator of fruit carotenoid accumulation, SlERF6. This gene is a transcription factor or regulator of other genes. The results demonstrate the utility of systems-based analysis to identify genes controlling complex biochemical traits in crop species such as ripening and nutrient content.
Technical Abstract: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and its wild relatives harbor genetic diversity that yields heritable variation in fruit chemistry that could be exploited to identify genes regulating their synthesis and accumulation. Carotenoids, for example, are essential in plant and animal nutrition and are the visual indicators of ripening for many fruits including tomato. While carotenoid synthesis is well characterized, factors regulating flux through the pathway are poorly understood at the molecular level. To exploit the impact of tomato genetic diversity on carotenoids, S. pennellii introgression lines were used as a source of defined natural variation and as a resource for the identification of candidate regulatory genes. Correlation analysis between carotenoid content and gene expression profiles revealed 953 carotenoid-correlated genes. One candidate for impact on carotenoid accumulation was functionally characterized, SlERF6, revealing that it influences carotenoid biosynthesis and additional ripening phenotypes. Reduced expression of SlERF6 by RNAi enhanced both carotenoid and ethylene levels during fruit ripening demonstrating an important role for SlERF6 in ripening, integrating the ethylene and carotenoid synthesis pathways.