Histological and molecular investigation of the basis for variation in tomato fruit size in response to fruit load and genotype

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Abstract

Understanding the molecular mechanisms and cellular dynamics that cause variation in fruit size is critical for the control of fruit growth. The aim of this study was to investigate how both genotypic factors and carbohydrate limitation cause variation in fruit size. We grew a parental line (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and two inbred lines from Solanum chmielewskii (C.M.Rick et al.; D.M.Spooner et al.) producing small or large fruits under three fruit loads (FL): continuously two fruits/truss (2&2F) or five fruits/truss (5&5F) and a switch from five to two fruits/truss (5&2F) 7 days after anthesis (DAA). Final fruit size, sugar content and cell phenotypes were measured. The expression of major cell cycle genes 7 DAA was investigated using quantitative PCR. The 5&5F treatment resulted in significantly smaller fruits than the 5&2F and 2&2F treatments. In the 5&5F treatment, cell number and cell volume contributed equally to the genotypic variation in final fruit size. In the 5&2F and 2&2F treatment, cell number contributed twice as much to the genotypic variation in final fruit size than cell volume did. FL treatments resulted in only subtle variations in gene expression. Genotypic differences were detected in transcript levels of CycD3 (cyclin) and CDKB1 (cyclin-dependent-kinase), but not CycB2. Genotypic variation in fruit FW, pericarp volume and cell volume was linked to pericarp glucose and fructose content (R2 = 0.41, R2 = 0.48, R2 = 0.11 respectively). Genotypic variation in cell number was positively correlated with pericarp fructose content (R2 = 0.28). These results emphasise the role of sugar content and of the timing of assimilate supply in the variation of cell and fruit phenotypes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-763
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Volume39
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • plant-cell cycle
  • dna endoreduplication
  • carbon availability
  • gene-expression
  • hormone levels
  • growth
  • number
  • proliferation
  • carbohydrate
  • metabolism

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