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Title: Spatiotemporal dynamics of the tomato fruit transcriptome under prolonged water stress

Water availability influences all aspects of plant growth and development; however, most studies of plant responses to drought have focused on vegetative organs, notably roots and leaves. Far less is known about the molecular bases of drought acclimation responses in fruits, which are complex organs with distinct tissue types. To obtain a more comprehensive picture of the molecular mechanisms governing fruit development under drought, we profiled the transcriptomes of a spectrum of fruit tissues from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), spanning early growth through ripening and collected from plants grown under varying intensities of water stress. In addition, we compared transcriptional changes in fruit with those in leaves to highlight different and conserved transcriptome signatures in vegetative and reproductive organs. We observed extensive and diverse genetic reprogramming in different fruit tissues and leaves, each associated with a unique response to drought acclimation. These included major transcriptional shifts in the placenta of growing fruit and in the seeds of ripe fruit related to cell growth and epigenetic regulation, respectively. Changes in metabolic and hormonal pathways, such as those related to starch, carotenoids, jasmonic acid, and ethylene metabolism, were associated with distinct fruit tissues and developmental stages. Gene coexpression network analysis provided further more » insights into the tissue-specific regulation of distinct responses to water stress. Our data highlight the spatiotemporal specificity of drought responses in tomato fruit and indicate known and unrevealed molecular regulatory mechanisms involved in drought acclimation, during both vegetative and reproductive stages of development.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Plant Physiology
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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