Journal of experimental botany

Solanum lycopersicum AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 9 regulates cell division activity during early tomato fruit development.

PMID 25883382


The transformation of the ovary into a fruit after successful completion of pollination and fertilization has been associated with many changes at transcriptomic level. These changes are part of a dynamic and complex regulatory network that is controlled by phytohormones, with a major role for auxin. One of the auxin-related genes differentially expressed upon fruit set and early fruit development in tomato is Solanum lycopersicum AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 9 (SlARF9). Here, the functional analysis of this ARF is described. SlARF9 expression was found to be auxin-responsive and SlARF9 mRNA levels were high in the ovules, placenta, and pericarp of pollinated ovaries, but also in other plant tissues with high cell division activity, such as the axillary meristems and root meristems. Transgenic plants with increased SlARF9 mRNA levels formed fruits that were smaller than wild-type fruits because of reduced cell division activity, whereas transgenic lines in which SlARF9 mRNA levels were reduced showed the opposite phenotype. The expression analysis, together with the phenotype of the transgenic lines, suggests that, in tomato, ARF9 negatively controls cell division during early fruit development.