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Tomato Fruit Photosynthesis Is Seemingly Unimportant in Primary Metabolism and Ripening But Plays a Considerable Role in Seed Development

Anna Lytovchenko, Ira Eickmeier, Clara Pons, Sonia Osorio, Marek Szecowka, Kerstin Lehmberg, Stephanie Arrivault, Takayuki Tohge, Benito Pineda, Maria Teresa Anton, Boris Hedtke, Yinghong Lu, Joachim Fisahn, Ralph Bock, Mark Stitt, Bernhard Grimm, Antonio Granell and Alisdair R. Fernie
Plant Physiology
Vol. 157, No. 4 (December 2011), pp. 1650-1663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41435620
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Tomato Fruit Photosynthesis Is Seemingly Unimportant in Primary Metabolism and Ripening But Plays a Considerable Role in Seed Development
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Abstract

Fruit of tomato (Solarium lycopersicum), like those from many species, have been characterized to undergo a shift from partially photosynthetic to truly heterotrophic metabolism. While there is plentiful evidence for functional photosynthesis in young tomato fruit, the rates of carbon assimilation rarely exceed those of carbon dioxide release, raising the question of its role in this tissue. Here, we describe the generation and characterization of lines exhibiting a fruit-specific reduction in the expression of glutamate 1-semialdehyde aminotransferase (GSA). Despite the fact that these plants contained less GSA protein and lowered chlorophyll levels and photosynthetic activity, they were characterized by few other differences. Indeed, they displayed almost no differences in fruit size, weight, or ripening capacity and furthermore displayed few alterations in other primary or intermediary metabolites. Although GSA antisense lines were characterized by significant alterations in the expression of genes associated with photosynthesis, as well as with cell wall and amino acid metabolism, these changes were not manifested at the phenotypic level. One striking feature of the antisense plants was their seed phenotype: the transformants displayed a reduced seed set and altered morphology and metabolism at early stages of fruit development, although these differences did not affect the final seed number or fecundity. Taken together, these results suggest that fruit photosynthesis is, at least under ambient conditions, not necessary for fruit energy metabolism or development but is essential for properly timed seed development and therefore may confer an advantage under conditions of stress.

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