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Plant J. 2011 Dec;68(6):999-1013. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04750.x. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Combined transcription factor profiling, microarray analysis and metabolite profiling reveals the transcriptional control of metabolic shifts occurring during tomato fruit development.

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Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Muehlenberg 1, D-14476 Potsdam, Germany.


Maturation of fleshy fruits such as tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is subject to tight genetic control. Here we describe the development of a quantitative real-time PCR platform that allows accurate quantification of the expression level of approximately 1000 tomato transcription factors. In addition to utilizing this novel approach, we performed cDNA microarray analysis and metabolite profiling of primary and secondary metabolites using GC-MS and LC-MS, respectively. We applied these platforms to pericarp material harvested throughout fruit development, studying both wild-type Solanum lycopersicum cv. Ailsa Craig and the hp1 mutant. This mutant is functionally deficient in the tomato homologue of the negative regulator of the light signal transduction gene DDB1 from Arabidopsis, and is furthermore characterized by dramatically increased pigment and phenolic contents. We choose this particular mutant as it had previously been shown to have dramatic alterations in the content of several important fruit metabolites but relatively little impact on other ripening phenotypes. The combined dataset was mined in order to identify metabolites that were under the control of these transcription factors, and, where possible, the respective transcriptional regulation underlying this control. The results are discussed in terms of both programmed fruit ripening and development and the transcriptional and metabolic shifts that occur in parallel during these processes.

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