FRUITFULL-like genes regulate flowering time and inflorescence architecture in tomato

X. Jiang, Greice Lubini, José Hernandes-Lopes, K. Rijnsburger, V.D. Veltkamp, R.A. de Maagd, G.C. Angenent, M. Bemer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The timing of flowering and the inflorescence architecture are critical for the reproductive success of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), but the gene regulatory networks underlying these traits have not been fully explored. Here, we show that the tomato FRUITFULL-like (FUL-like) genes FUL2 and MADS-BOX PROTEIN 20 (MBP20) promote the vegetative-to-reproductive transition and repress inflorescence branching by inducing floral meristem (FM) maturation. FUL1 fulfils a less prominent role and appears to depend on FUL2 and MBP20 for its upregulation in the inflorescence- and floral meristems. MBP10, the fourth tomato FUL-like gene, has probably lost its function. The tomato FUL-like proteins cannot homodimerize in in vitro assays, but heterodimerize with various other MADS-domain proteins, potentially forming distinct complexes in the transition meristem and FM. Transcriptome analysis of the primary shoot meristems revealed various interesting downstream targets, including four repressors of cytokinin signaling that are upregulated during the floral transition in ful1 ful2 mbp10 mbp20 mutants. FUL2 and MBP20 can also bind in vitro to the upstream regions of these genes, thereby probably directly stimulating cell division in the meristem upon the transition to flowering. The control of inflorescence branching does not occur via the cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenases (CKXs) but may be regulated by repression of transcription factors such as TOMATO MADS-box gene 3 (TM3) and APETALA 2b (AP2b).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1019
JournalThe Plant Cell
Issue number3
Early online date6 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


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