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Plant J. 2009 Jan;57(1):160-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03671.x. Epub 2008 Oct 4.

The Solanum lycopersicum auxin response factor 7 (SlARF7) regulates auxin signaling during tomato fruit set and development.

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Department of Plant Cell Biology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Heyendaalseweg 135, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Auxin response factors (ARFs) are encoded by a gene family of transcription factors that specifically control auxin-dependent developmental processes. A tomato ARF gene, homologous to Arabidopsis NPH4/ARF7 and therefore designated as Solanum lycopersicum ARF7 (SlARF7), was found to be expressed at a high level in unpollinated mature ovaries. More detailed analysis of tomato ovaries showed that the level of SlARF7 transcript increases during flower development, remains at a constant high level in mature flowers, and is down-regulated within 48 h after pollination. Transgenic plants with decreased SlARF7 mRNA levels formed seedless (parthenocarpic) fruits. These fruits were heart-shaped and had a rather thick pericarp due to increased cell expansion, compared with the pericarp of wild-type fruits. The expression analysis, together with the parthenocarpic fruit phenotype of the transgenic lines, suggests that, in tomato, SlARF7 acts as a negative regulator of fruit set until pollination and fertilization have taken place, and moderates the auxin response during fruit growth.

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