The dominant allele Aft induces a shift from flavonol to anthocyanin production in response to UV-B radiation in tomato fruit.

PMID 28516293


The introgression of the A ft allele into domesticated tomato induced a shift from flavonol to anthocyanin production in response to UV-B radiation, while the hp - 1 allele negatively influenced the response of flavonoid biosynthesis to UV-B. Introgression of the dominant allele Anthocyanin fruit (Aft) from Solanum chilense induces anthocyanin accumulation in the peel of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit. UV-B radiation can influence plant secondary metabolism regulating the expression of several genes, among which those involved in flavonoid biosynthesis. Here, we investigated whether post-harvest UV-B treatment could up-regulate flavonoid production in tomato fruits and whether the Aft allele could affect flavonoid biosynthesis under UV-B radiation. Mature green fruits of an anthocyanin-rich tomato mutant line (SA206) and of its wild-type reference, cv. Roma, were daily subjected to post-harvest UV-B treatment until full ripening. Up-regulation of CHS and CHI transcription by UV-B treatment induced flavonoid accumulation in the peel of cv. Roma. Conversely, UV-B decreased the total flavonoid content and CHS transcript levels in the SA206 peel. SA206 being a double mutant containing also hp-1 allele, we investigated also the behavior of hp-1 fruit. The decreased peel flavonoid accumulation and gene transcription in response to UV-B suggest that hp-1 allele is involved in the marked down-regulation of the flavonoid biosynthesis observed in SA206 fruit. Interestingly, in SA206, UV-B radiation promoted the synthesis of delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin by increasing F3'5'H and DFR transcription, but it decreased rutin production, suggesting a switch from flavonols to anthocyanins. Finally, although UV-B radiation does not reach the inner fruit tissues, it down-regulated flavonoid biosynthesis in the flesh of both genotypes. This study provides, for the first time, evidence that the presence of the functional Aft allele, under UV-B radiation, redirects flavonoid synthesis towards anthocyanin production and suggests that the hp-1 allele negatively influences the response of flavonoid biosynthesis to UV-B.