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New Phytol. 2008;177(1):60-76. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Changes in tomato ovary transcriptome demonstrate complex hormonal regulation of fruit set.

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Department of Plant Cell Biology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Plant hormones are considered to be important mediators of the fruit developmental signal after pollination. The role of phytohormones in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit set was investigated here. Transcriptome analysis of ovaries was performed using two complementary approaches: cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and microarray analysis. The gene expression profiles obtained suggest that, in addition to auxin and gibberellin, ethylene and abscisic acid (ABA) are involved in regulating fruit set. Before fruit development, many genes involved in biotic and abiotic responses are active in the ovary. In addition, genes involved in ethylene and ABA biosynthesis were strongly expressed, suggesting relatively high ethylene and ABA concentrations before fruit set. Induction of fruit development, either by pollination or by gibberellin application, attenuated expression of all ethylene and ABA biosynthesis and response genes within 24 h. It is proposed that the function of ABA and ethylene in fruit set might be antagonistic to that of auxin and gibberellin in order to keep the ovary in a temporally protected and dormant state; either to protect the ovary tissue or to prevent fruit development before pollination and fertilization occur.

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