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Plant Cell. 2011 Nov;23(11):3893-910. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.091173. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Tissue- and cell-type specific transcriptome profiling of expanding tomato fruit provides insights into metabolic and regulatory specialization and cuticle formation.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is the primary model for the study of fleshy fruits, and research in this species has elucidated many aspects of fruit physiology, development, and metabolism. However, most of these studies have involved homogenization of the fruit pericarp, with its many constituent cell types. Here, we describe the coupling of pyrosequencing technology with laser capture microdissection to characterize the transcriptomes of the five principal tissues of the pericarp from tomato fruits (outer and inner epidermal layers, collenchyma, parenchyma, and vascular tissues) at their maximal growth phase. A total of 20,976 high-quality expressed unigenes were identified, of which more than half were ubiquitous in their expression, while others were cell type specific or showed distinct expression patterns in specific tissues. The data provide new insights into the spatial distribution of many classes of regulatory and structural genes, including those involved in energy metabolism, source-sink relationships, secondary metabolite production, cell wall biology, and cuticle biogenesis. Finally, patterns of similar gene expression between tissues led to the characterization of a cuticle on the inner surface of the pericarp, demonstrating the utility of this approach as a platform for biological discovery.

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