A common genetic mechanism underlies morphological diversity in fruits and other plant organs

Shan Wu, Biyao Zhang, Neda Keyhaninejad, Gustavo R. Rodríguez, Hyun Jung Kim, Manohar Chakrabarti, Eudald Illa-Berenguer, Nathan K. Taitano, M.J. Gonzalo, Aurora Díaz, Yupeng Pan, Courtney P. Leisner, Dennis Halterman, C.R. Buell, Yiqun Weng, Shelley H. Jansky, Herman van Eck, Johan Willemsen, Antonio J. Monforte, Tea MeuliaEsther van der Knaap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Shapes of edible plant organs vary dramatically among and within crop plants. To explain and ultimately employ this variation towards crop improvement, we determined the genetic, molecular and cellular bases of fruit shape diversity in tomato. Through positional cloning, protein interaction studies, and genome editing, we report that OVATE Family Proteins and TONNEAU1 Recruiting Motif proteins regulate cell division patterns in ovary development to alter final fruit shape. The physical interactions between the members of these two families are necessary for dynamic relocalization of the protein complexes to different cellular compartments when expressed in tobacco leaf cells. Together with data from other domesticated crops and model plant species, the protein interaction studies provide possible mechanistic insights into the regulation of morphological variation in plants and a framework that may apply to organ growth in all plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4734
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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