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Plant Physiol. 2005 Dec;139(4):1984-94. Epub 2005 Nov 23.

Cell expansion and endoreduplication show a large genetic variability in pericarp and contribute strongly to tomato fruit growth.

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  • 1Unité Mixte de Recherche 619 Physiologie et Biotechnologies Végétales, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Université Bordeaux 1, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon, France.


Postanthesis growth of tomato (Solanum lycopersicon) as of many types of fruit relies on cell division and cell expansion, so that some of the largest cells to be found in plants occur in fleshy fruit. Endoreduplication is known to occur in such materials, which suggests its involvement in cell expansion, although no data have demonstrated this hypothesis as yet. We have analyzed pattern formation, cell size, and ploidy in tomato fruit pericarp. A first set of data was collected in one cherry tomato line throughout fruit development. A second set of data was obtained from 20 tomato lines displaying a large weight range in fruit, which were compared as ovaries at anthesis and as fully grown fruit at breaker stage. A remarkable conservation of pericarp pattern, including cell layer number and cell size, is observed in all of the 20 tomato lines at anthesis, whereas large variations of growth occur afterward. A strong, positive correlation, combining development and genetic diversity, is demonstrated between mean cell size and ploidy, which holds for mean cell diameters from 10 to 350 microm (i.e. a 32,000-times volume variation) and for mean ploidy levels from 3 to 80 C. Fruit weight appears also significantly correlated with cell size and ploidy. These data provide a framework of pericarp patterning and growth. They strongly suggest the quantitative importance of polyploidy-associated cell expansion as a determinant of fruit weight in tomato.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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