Transcriptome and Metabolite Profiling Show That APETALA2a Is a Major Regulator of Tomato Fruit Ripening

R.B. Karlova, F.M.A. Rosin, J. Busscher-Lange, V.A. Parapunova, P.T. Do, A.R. Fernie, P.D. Fraser, C. Baxter, G.C. Angenent, R.A. de Maagd

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304 Citations (Scopus)


Fruit ripening in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) requires the coordination of both developmental cues as well as the plant hormone ethylene. Although the role of ethylene in mediating climacteric ripening has been established, knowledge regarding the developmental regulators that modulate the involvement of ethylene in tomato fruit ripening is still lacking. Here, we show that the tomato APETALA2a (AP2a) transcription factor regulates fruit ripening via regulation of ethylene biosynthesis and signaling. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated repression of AP2a resulted in alterations in fruit shape, orange ripe fruits, and altered carotenoid accumulation. Microarray expression analyses of the ripe AP2 RNAi fruits showed altered expression of genes involved in various metabolic pathways, such as the phenylpropanoid and carotenoid pathways, as well as in hormone synthesis and perception. Genes involved in chromoplast differentiation and other ripening-associated processes were also differentially expressed, but softening and ethylene biosynthesis occurred in the transgenic plants. Ripening regulators RIPENING-INHIBITOR, NON-RIPENING, and COLORLESS NON-RIPENING (CNR) function upstream of AP2a and positively regulate its expression. In the pericarp of AP2 RNAi fruits, mRNA levels of CNR were elevated, indicating that AP2a and CNR are part of a negative feedback loop in the regulation of ripening. Moreover, we demonstrated that CNR binds to the promoter of AP2a in vitro
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-941
JournalThe Plant Cell
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • homeotic gene apetala2
  • ethylene biosynthesis
  • flower development
  • 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase
  • chromoplast differentiation
  • lycopersicon-esculentum
  • expression analysis
  • arabidopsis flower
  • seed development
  • organ identity


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