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  1. Abstract

    Methyl salicylate imparts a potent flavor and aroma described as medicinal and wintergreen that is undesirable in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit. Plants control the quantities of methyl salicylate through a variety of biosynthetic pathways, including the methylation of salicylic acid to form methyl salicylate and subsequent glycosylation to prevent methyl salicylate emission. Here, we identified a subclade of tomato methyl esterases, SALICYLIC ACID METHYL ESTERASE1-4, responsible for demethylation of methyl salicylate to form salicylic acid in fruits. This family was identified by proximity to a highly significant methyl salicylate genome-wide association study locus on chromosome 2. Genetic mapping studies in a biparental population confirmed a major methyl salicylate locus on chromosome 2. Fruits from SlMES1 knockout lines emitted significantly (P < 0,05, t test) higher amounts of methyl salicylate than wild-type fruits. Double and triple mutants of SlMES2, SlMES3, and SlMES4 emitted even more methyl salicylate than SlMES1 single knockouts—but not at statistically distinguishable levels—compared to the single mutant. Heterologously expressed SlMES1 and SlMES3 acted on methyl salicylate in vitro, with SlMES1 having a higher affinity for methyl salicylate than SlMES3. The SlMES locus has undergone major rearrangement, as demonstrated by genome structure analysis in the parents of the biparental population.more »Analysis of accessions that produce high or low levels of methyl salicylate showed that SlMES1 and SlMES3 genes expressed the highest in the low methyl salicylate lines. None of the MES genes were appreciably expressed in the high methyl salicylate-producing lines. We concluded that the SlMES gene family encodes tomato methyl esterases that convert methyl salicylate to salicylic acid in ripe tomato fruit. Their ability to decrease methyl salicylate levels by conversion to salicylic acid is an attractive breeding target to lower the level of a negative contributor to flavor.

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  2. Fruit flavor is defined as the perception of the food by the olfactory and gustatory systems, and is one of the main determinants of fruit quality. Tomato flavor is largely determined by the balance of sugars, acids and volatile compounds. Several genes controlling the levels of these metabolites in tomato fruit have been cloned, including LIN5 , ALMT9 , AAT1 , CXE1 , and LoxC . The aim of this study was to identify any association of these genes with trait variation and to describe the genetic diversity at these loci in the red-fruited tomato clade comprised of the wild ancestor Solanum pimpinellifolium , the semi-domesticated species Solanum lycopersicum cerasiforme and early domesticated Solanum lycopersicum . High genetic diversity was observed at these five loci, including novel haplotypes that could be incorporated into breeding programs to improve fruit quality of modern tomatoes. Using newly available high-quality genome assemblies, we assayed each gene for potential functional causative polymorphisms and resolved a duplication at the LoxC locus found in several wild and semi-domesticated accessions which caused lower accumulation of lipid derived volatiles. In addition, we explored gene expression of the five genes in nine phylogenetically diverse tomato accessions. In general, the expressionmore »patterns of these genes increased during fruit ripening but diverged between accessions without clear relationship between expression and metabolite levels.« less
  3. Abstract

    A collection of 163 accessions, includingSolanum pimpinellifolium,Solanum lycopersicumvar.cerasiformeandSolanum lycopersicumvar.lycopersicum, was selected to represent the genetic and morphological variability of tomato at its centers of origin and domestication: Andean regions of Peru and Ecuador and Mesoamerica. The collection is enriched withS. lycopersicumvar.cerasiformefrom the Amazonian region that has not been analyzed previously nor used extensively. The collection has been morphologically characterized showing diversity for fruit, flower and vegetative traits. Their genomes were sequenced in the Varitome project and are publicly available ( The identified SNPs have been annotated with respect to their impact and a total number of 37,974 out of 19,364,146 SNPs have been described as high impact by the SnpEeff analysis. GWAS has shown associations for different traits, demonstrating the potential of this collection for this kind of analysis. We have not only identified known QTLs and genes, but also new regions associated with traits such as fruit color, number of flowers per inflorescence or inflorescence architecture. To speed up and facilitate the use of this information, F2 populations were constructed by crossing the whole collection with three different parents. This F2 collection is useful for testing SNPs identified by GWAs, selection sweeps or any other candidate gene. Allmore »data is available on Solanaceae Genomics Network and the accession and F2 seeds are freely available at COMAV and at TGRC genebanks. All these resources together make this collection a good candidate for genetic studies.

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  4. Aberrant regulation of metabolic kinases by altered redox homeostasis substantially contributes to aging and various diseases, such as diabetes. We found that the catalytic activity of a conserved family of fructosamine-3-kinases (FN3Ks), which are evolutionarily related to eukaryotic protein kinases, is regulated by redox-sensitive cysteine residues in the kinase domain. The crystal structure of the FN3K homolog fromArabidopsis thalianarevealed that it forms an unexpected strand-exchange dimer in which the ATP-binding P-loop and adjoining β strands are swapped between two chains in the dimer. This dimeric configuration is characterized by strained interchain disulfide bonds that stabilize the P-loop in an extended conformation. Mutational analysis and solution studies confirmed that the strained disulfides function as redox “switches” to reversibly regulate the activity and dimerization of FN3K. Human FN3K, which contains an equivalent P-loop Cys, was also redox sensitive, whereas ancestral bacterial FN3K homologs, which lack a P-loop Cys, were not. Furthermore, CRISPR-mediated knockout of FN3K in human liver cancer cells altered the abundance of redox metabolites, including an increase in glutathione. We propose that redox regulation evolved in FN3K homologs in response to changing cellular redox conditions. Our findings provide insights into the origin and evolution of redox regulation in the proteinmore »kinase superfamily and may open new avenues for targeting human FN3K in diabetic complications.

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