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Sci Rep. 2012;2:836. doi: 10.1038/srep00836. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Virus-induced gene complementation reveals a transcription factor network in modulation of tomato fruit ripening.

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Warwick HRI and School of Life Science, University of Warwick, Warwick, UK.


Plant virus technology, in particular virus-induced gene silencing, is a widely used reverse- and forward-genetics tool in plant functional genomics. However the potential of virus technology to express genes to induce phenotypes or to complement mutants in order to understand the function of plant genes is not well documented. Here we exploit Potato virus X as a tool for virus-induced gene complementation (VIGC). Using VIGC in tomato, we demonstrated that ectopic viral expression of LeMADS-RIN, which encodes a MADS-box transcription factor (TF), resulted in functional complementation of the non-ripening rin mutant phenotype and caused fruits to ripen. Comparative gene expression analysis indicated that LeMADS-RIN up-regulated expression of the SBP-box (SQUAMOSA promoter binding protein-like) gene LeSPL-CNR, but down-regulated the expression of LeHB-1, an HD-Zip homeobox TF gene. Our data support the hypothesis that a transcriptional network may exist among key TFs in the modulation of fruit ripening in tomato.

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