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Plant Physiol. 2009 Jul;150(3):1204-18. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.136598. Epub 2009 May 13.

RNA interference of LIN5 in tomato confirms its role in controlling Brix content, uncovers the influence of sugars on the levels of fruit hormones, and demonstrates the importance of sucrose cleavage for normal fruit development and fertility.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


It has been previously demonstrated, utilizing intraspecific introgression lines, that Lycopersicum Invertase5 (LIN5), which encodes a cell wall invertase, controls total soluble solids content in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The physiological role of this protein, however, has not yet been directly studied, since evaluation of data obtained from the introgression lines is complicated by the fact that they additionally harbor many other wild species alleles. To allow a more precise comparison, we generated transgenic tomato in which we silenced the expression of LIN5 using the RNA interference approach. The transformants were characterized by an altered flower and fruit morphology, displaying increased numbers of petals and sepals per flower, an increased rate of fruit abortion, and a reduction in fruit size. Evaluation of the mature fruit revealed that the transformants were characterized by a reduction of seed number per plant. Furthermore, detailed physiological analysis revealed that the transformants displayed aberrant pollen morphology and a reduction in the rate of pollen tube elongation. Metabolite profiling of ovaries and green and red fruit revealed that metabolic changes in the transformants were largely confined to sugar metabolism, whereas transcript and hormone profiling revealed broad changes both in the hormones themselves and in transcripts encoding their biosynthetic enzymes and response elements. These results are discussed in the context of current understanding of the role of sugar during the development of tomato fruit, with particular focus given to its impact on hormone levels and organ morphology.

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