Combined transcriptome, genetic diversity and metabolite profiling in tomato fruit reveals that the ethylene response factor SlERF6 plays an important role in ripening and carotenoid accumulation
Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
© 2011 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
The Plant Journal
Volume 70, Issue 2, pages 191–204, April 2012
How to Cite
Lee, J. M., Joung, J.-G., McQuinn, R., Chung, M.-Y., Fei, Z., Tieman, D., Klee, H. and Giovannoni, J. (2012), Combined transcriptome, genetic diversity and metabolite profiling in tomato fruit reveals that the ethylene response factor SlERF6 plays an important role in ripening and carotenoid accumulation. The Plant Journal, 70: 191–204. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04863.x
- Issue published online: 3 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 23 NOV 2011 09:59AM EST
- Received 26 September 2011; revised 4 November 2011; accepted 10 November 2011; published online 5 January 2012.
- fruit ripening;
- ERF transcription factor;
- transcriptome analysis
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) and its wild relatives harbor genetic diversity that yields heritable variation in fruit chemistry that could be exploited to identify genes regulating their synthesis and accumulation. Carotenoids, for example, are essential in plant and animal nutrition, and are the visual indicators of ripening for many fruits, including tomato. Whereas carotenoid synthesis is well characterized, factors regulating flux through the pathway are poorly understood at the molecular level. To exploit the impact of tomato genetic diversity on carotenoids, Solanum pennellii introgression lines were used as a source of defined natural variation and as a resource for the identification of candidate regulatory genes. Ripe fruits were analyzed for numerous fruit metabolites and transcriptome profiles generated using a 12 000 unigene oligoarray. Correlation analysis between carotenoid content and gene expression profiles revealed 953 carotenoid-correlated genes. To narrow the pool, subnetwork analysis of carotenoid-correlated transcription revealed 38 candidates. One candidate for impact on trans-lycopene and β-carotene accumulation was functionally charaterized, SlERF6, revealing that it indeed influences carotenoid biosynthesis and additional ripening phenotypes. Reduced expression of SlERF6 by RNAi enhanced both carotenoid and ethylene levels during fruit ripening, demonstrating an important role for SlERF6 in ripening, integrating the ethylene and carotenoid synthesis pathways.