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  1. Abstract

    Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit store carbon as starch during early development and mobilize it at the onset of ripening. Starch accumulation has been suggested to buffer fluctuations in carbon supply to the fruit under abiotic stress, and contribute to sugar levels in ripe fruit. However, the role of starch accumulation and metabolism during fruit development is still unclear. Here we show that the tomato mutant adpressa (adp) harbors a mutation in a gene encoding the small subunit of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase that abolishes starch synthesis. The disruption of starch biosynthesis causes major transcriptional and metabolic remodeling in adp fruit but only minor effects on fruit size and ripening. Changes in gene expression and metabolite profiles indicate that the lack of carbon flow into starch increases levels of soluble sugars during fruit growth, triggers a readjustment of central carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and activates growth and stress protection pathways. Accordingly, adp fruits are remarkably resistant to blossom-end rot, a common physiological disorder induced by environmental stress. Our results provide insights into the effects of perturbations of carbohydrate metabolism on tomato fruit development, with potential implications for the enhancement of protective mechanisms against abiotic stress in fleshy fruit.

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  2. Abstract

    Pepper (Capsicumspp.) is one of the earliest cultivated crops and includes five domesticated species,C. annuumvar.annuum,C. chinense,C. frutescens,C. baccatumvar.pendulumandC. pubescens. Here, we report a pepper graph pan-genome and a genome variation map of 500 accessions from the five domesticatedCapsicumspecies and close wild relatives. We identify highly differentiated genomic regions among the domesticated peppers that underlie their natural variations in flowering time, characteristic flavors, and unique resistances to biotic and abiotic stresses. Domestication sweeps detected inC. annuumvar.annuumandC. baccatumvar.pendulumare mostly different, and the common domestication traits, including fruit size, shape and pungency, are achieved mainly through the selection of distinct genomic regions between these two cultivated species. Introgressions fromC. baccatumintoC. chinenseandC. frutescensare detected, including those providing genetic sources for various biotic and abiotic stress tolerances.

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  3. Abstract Copper (Cu) and iron (Fe) are essential micronutrients that are toxic when accumulating in excess in cells. Thus, their uptake by roots is tightly regulated. While plants sense and respond to local Cu availability, the systemic regulation of Cu uptake has not been documented in contrast to local and systemic control of Fe uptake. Fe abundance in the phloem has been suggested to act systemically, regulating the expression of Fe uptake genes in roots. Consistently, shoot-to-root Fe signaling is disrupted in Arabidopsis thaliana mutants lacking the phloem companion cell-localized Fe transporter, OLIGOPEPTIDE TRANSPORTER 3 (AtOPT3). We report that AtOPT3 also transports Cu in heterologous systems and contributes to its delivery from sources to sinks in planta. The opt3 mutant contained less Cu in the phloem, was sensitive to Cu deficiency and mounted a transcriptional Cu deficiency response in roots and young leaves. Feeding the opt3 mutant and Cu- or Fe-deficient wild-type seedlings with Cu or Fe via the phloem in leaves downregulated the expression of both Cu- and Fe-deficiency marker genes in roots. These data suggest the existence of shoot-to-root Cu signaling, highlight the complexity of Cu/Fe interactions, and the role of AtOPT3 in fine-tuning root transcriptional responses to the plant Cu and Fe needs. 
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  4. Abstract Effective utilization of wild relatives is key to overcoming challenges in genetic improvement of cultivated tomato, which has a narrow genetic basis; however, current efforts to decipher high-quality genomes for tomato wild species are insufficient. Here, we report chromosome-scale tomato genomes from nine wild species and two cultivated accessions, representative of Solanum section Lycopersicon , the tomato clade. Together with two previously released genomes, we elucidate the phylogeny of Lycopersicon and construct a section-wide gene repertoire. We reveal the landscape of structural variants and provide entry to the genomic diversity among tomato wild relatives, enabling the discovery of a wild tomato gene with the potential to increase yields of modern cultivated tomatoes. Construction of a graph-based genome enables structural-variant-based genome-wide association studies, identifying numerous signals associated with tomato flavor-related traits and fruit metabolites. The tomato super-pangenome resources will expedite biological studies and breeding of this globally important crop. 
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  5. Abstract

    Basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors constitute a superfamily in eukaryotes, but their roles in plant immunity remain largely uncharacterized. We found that the transcript abundance in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaves of one bHLH transcription factor-encoding gene, negative regulator of resistance to DC3000 1 (Nrd1), increased significantly after treatment with the immunity-inducing flgII-28 peptide. Plants carrying a loss-of-function mutation in Nrd1 (Δnrd1) showed enhanced resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000 although early pattern-triggered immunity responses, such as generation of reactive oxygen species and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases after treatment with flagellin-derived flg22 and flgII-28 peptides, were unaltered compared to wild-type plants. RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis identified a gene, Arabinogalactan protein 1 (Agp1), whose expression is strongly suppressed in an Nrd1-dependent manner. Agp1 encodes an arabinogalactan protein, and overexpression of the Agp1 gene in Nicotiana benthamiana led to ∼10-fold less Pst growth compared to the control. These results suggest that the Nrd1 protein promotes tomato susceptibility to Pst by suppressing the defense gene Agp1. RNA-seq also revealed that the loss of Nrd1 function has no effect on the transcript abundance of immunity-associated genes, including AvrPtoB tomato-interacting 9 (Bti9), Cold-shock protein receptor (Core), Flagellin sensing 2 (Fls2), Flagellin sensing (Fls3), and Wall-associated kinase 1 (Wak1) upon Pst inoculation, suggesting that the enhanced immunity observed in the Δnrd1 mutants is due to the activation of key PRR signaling components as well as the loss of Nrd1-regulated suppression of Agp1.

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  6. Abstract Missing heritability in genome-wide association studies defines a major problem in genetic analyses of complex biological traits 1,2 . The solution to this problem is to identify all causal genetic variants and to measure their individual contributions 3,4 . Here we report a graph pangenome of tomato constructed by precisely cataloguing more than 19 million variants from 838 genomes, including 32 new reference-level genome assemblies. This graph pangenome was used for genome-wide association study analyses and heritability estimation of 20,323 gene-expression and metabolite traits. The average estimated trait heritability is 0.41 compared with 0.33 when using the single linear reference genome. This 24% increase in estimated heritability is largely due to resolving incomplete linkage disequilibrium through the inclusion of additional causal structural variants identified using the graph pangenome. Moreover, by resolving allelic and locus heterogeneity, structural variants improve the power to identify genetic factors underlying agronomically important traits leading to, for example, the identification of two new genes potentially contributing to soluble solid content. The newly identified structural variants will facilitate genetic improvement of tomato through both marker-assisted selection and genomic selection. Our study advances the understanding of the heritability of complex traits and demonstrates the power of the graph pangenome in crop breeding. 
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  7. Abstract

    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 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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  8. Abstract

    Spinach is a nutritious leafy vegetable belonging to the family Chenopodiaceae. Here we report a high-quality chromosome-scale reference genome assembly of spinach and genome resequencing of 305 cultivated and wild spinach accessions. Reconstruction of ancestral Chenopodiaceae karyotype indicates substantial genome rearrangements in spinach after its divergence from ancestral Chenopodiaceae, coinciding with high repeat content in the spinach genome. Population genomic analyses provide insights into spinach genetic diversity and population differentiation. Genome-wide association studies of 20 agronomical traits identify numerous significantly associated regions and candidate genes for these traits. Domestication sweeps in the spinach genome are identified, some of which are associated with important traits (e.g., leaf phenotype, bolting and flowering), demonstrating the role of artificial selection in shaping spinach phenotypic evolution. This study provides not only insights into the spinach evolution and domestication but also valuable resources for facilitating spinach breeding.

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