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Plant Cell. 2013 Feb;25(2):371-86. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.108118. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

A large-scale identification of direct targets of the tomato MADS box transcription factor RIPENING INHIBITOR reveals the regulation of fruit ripening.

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National Food Research Institute, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8642, Japan.


The fruit ripening developmental program is specific to plants bearing fleshy fruits and dramatically changes fruit characteristics, including color, aroma, and texture. The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) MADS box transcription factor RIPENING INHIBITOR (RIN), one of the earliest acting ripening regulators, is required for both ethylene-dependent and -independent ripening regulatory pathways. Recent studies have identified two dozen direct RIN targets, but many more RIN targets remain to be identified. Here, we report the large-scale identification of direct RIN targets by chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with DNA microarray analysis (ChIP-chip) targeting the predicted promoters of tomato genes. Our combined ChIP-chip and transcriptome analysis identified 241 direct RIN target genes that contain a RIN binding site and exhibit RIN-dependent positive or negative regulation during fruit ripening, suggesting that RIN has both activator and repressor roles. Examination of the predicted functions of RIN targets revealed that RIN participates in the regulation of lycopene accumulation, ethylene production, chlorophyll degradation, and many other physiological processes. Analysis of the effect of ethylene using 1-methylcyclopropene revealed that the positively regulated subset of RIN targets includes ethylene-sensitive and -insensitive transcription factors. Intriguingly, ethylene is involved in the upregulation of RIN expression during ripening. These results suggest that tomato fruit ripening is regulated by the interaction between RIN and ethylene signaling.

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