Journal Article

Genetic and Physiological Characterization of the <i>Arlequin</i> Insertional Mutant Reveals a Key Regulator of Reproductive Development in Tomato

Benito Pineda, Estela Giménez-Caminero, Begoña García-Sogo, María Teresa Antón, Alejandro Atarés, Juan Capel, Rafael Lozano, Trinidad Angosto and Vicente Moreno

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 51, issue 3, pages 435-447
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcq009
Genetic and Physiological Characterization of the Arlequin Insertional Mutant Reveals a Key Regulator of Reproductive Development in Tomato

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The genetic and phenotypic characterization of a new tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) insertional mutant, Arlequin (Alq) is reported. Alq mutant plants were affected in reproductive development and their sepals were homeotically converted into fleshy fruit-like organs. Molecular analysis demonstrated that a single copy of T-DNA was present in the mutant genome while genetic analysis confirmed that the mutant phenotype co-segregated with the T-DNA insertion and was inherited as a monogenic semi-dominant trait. The histological and scanning electron microscope analyses revealed cell identity changes in both external and internal tissues of Alq sepals. Flowers developed by Alq homozygous plants showed a severe mutant phenotype, since after fruit set, not only did the sepals become succulent but they also followed a ripening pattern similar to that of normal fruits. From a metabolic viewpoint, Alq sepals also behaved like a fruit, as they acquired the properties of a sink that acted alternatively and independently to the fruit. In fact, expression of regulatory genes controlling tomato fruit ripening was detected in Alq sepals at similar levels to those observed in mature fruits. Furthermore, the Alq mutation inhibited the development of the abscission zone in tomato flowers indicating that the JOINTLESS gene is regulated by ALQ. Results from the genetic and developmental characterization of the Alq tomato mutant suggest that the ALQ gene participates in the regulatory pathway controlling fruit ripening of tomato.

Keywords: Arlequin; Fruit ripening; Insertional mutant; Reproductive development; Solanum lycopersicum; Tomato

Journal Article.  7980 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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