Metabolomics reveals organ-specific metabolic rearrangements during early tomato seedling development

M.V. Gomez-Roldan, B. Engel, R.C.H. de Vos, P.F.G. Vereijken, L. Astola, M.A.C. Groenenboom, H.C. van de Geest, A.G. Bovy, J. Molenaar, F.A. van Eeuwijk, R.D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Tomato seedlings (Solanum lycopersicum cv.MoneyMaker), grown under strictly controlled conditions, have been used to study alterations occurring in secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways following developmental and environmental perturbations. Robustness and reproducibility of the system were confirmed using detailed statistical analyses of the metabolome. LCMS profiling was applied using whole germinated seeds as well as cotyledons, hypocotyls and roots from 3 to 9 days old seedlings to generate relative levels of 433 metabolites, of which 62 were annotated. Initial focus was given to the polyphenol pathway and several additional mass signals have been putatively annotated using high mass resolution fragmentation. Clear organ and developmental stage—specific differences were observed. Seeds accumulated saponin-like compounds; roots accumulated mainly alkaloids; cotyledons contained mainly glycosylated flavonols and; hypocotyls contained mainly anthocyanins. For each organ, the developmental changes in metabolite profiles were described by using linear mixed models. Across three independent experiments, 85 % of the metabolites showed similar developmental trends. This tomato seedling system has given us valuable additional insights into the complexity of seedling secondary metabolism. How metabolic profiles reflect an interplay between depletion of stored molecules and de novo synthesis and how the overall picture for this important crop plant contrasts to e.g. Arabidopsis are emphasised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-974
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • transcriptome coexpression analysis
  • mass-spectrometry
  • fruit-development
  • integrated analysis
  • network analysis
  • systems biology
  • arabidopsis
  • pathway
  • expression
  • tool


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