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Plant physiology

Transcriptional Activity of the MADS Box ARLEQUIN/TOMATO AGAMOUS-LIKE1 Gene Is Required for Cuticle Development of Tomato Fruit.


PMID 26019301

Abstract

Fruit development and ripening entail key biological and agronomic events, which ensure the appropriate formation and dispersal of seeds and determine productivity and yield quality traits. The MADS box gene Arlequin/tomato Agamous-like1 (hereafter referred to as TAGL1) was reported as a key regulator of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) reproductive development, mainly involved in flower development, early fruit development, and ripening. It is shown here that silencing of the TAGL1 gene (RNA interference lines) promotes significant changes affecting cuticle development, mainly a reduction of thickness and stiffness, as well as a significant decrease in the content of cuticle components (cutin, waxes, polysaccharides, and phenolic compounds). Accordingly, overexpression of TAGL1 significantly increased the amount of cuticle and most of its components while rendering a mechanically weak cuticle. Expression of the genes involved in cuticle biosynthesis agreed with the biochemical and biomechanical features of cuticles isolated from transgenic fruits; it also indicated that TAGL1 participates in the transcriptional control of cuticle development mediating the biosynthesis of cuticle components. Furthermore, cell morphology and the arrangement of epidermal cell layers, on whose activity cuticle formation depends, were altered when TAGL1 was either silenced or constitutively expressed, indicating that this transcription factor regulates cuticle development, probably through the biosynthetic activity of epidermal cells. Our results also support cuticle development as an integrated event in the fruit expansion and ripening processes that characterize fleshy-fruited species such as tomato.