[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CRISPR/Cas9 system is highly efficient at generating targeted
mutations in stable transgenic tomato plants, and homozygous deletions of a desired size can be created in the first generation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant apical meristems (AMs) grow continuously by delicately balancing cells leaving at the periphery to form lateral organs with slowly dividing central domain cells that replenish reservoirs of pluripotent cells. This balance can be modified by signals originating from within and outside the meristem, and their integration results in a gradual maturation process that often culminates with the meristem differentiating into a flower. Accompanying this 'meristem maturation' are changes in spacing and size of lateral organs and in rates at which lateral meristems are released from apical dominance. Modulation of distinct meristem maturation parameters through environmental and genetic changes underlies the remarkable diversity of shoot architectures. Here, we discuss recent studies relating the dynamics of meristem maturation with organization of floral branching systems-inflorescences-in the nightshades. From this context, we suggest general principles on how factors coordinating meristem maturation impact shoot organization more broadly.
Current opinion in plant biology 02/2014; 17C:70-77. · 10.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The superiority of hybrids has long been exploited in agriculture, and although many models explaining "heterosis" have been put forth, direct empirical support is limited. Particularly elusive have been cases of heterozygosity for single gene mutations causing heterosis under a genetic model known as overdominance. In tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), plants carrying mutations in SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS (SFT) encoding the flowering hormone florigen are severely delayed in flowering, become extremely large, and produce few flowers and fruits, but when heterozygous, yields are dramatically increased. Curiously, this overdominance is evident only in the background of "determinate" plants, in which the continuous production of side shoots and inflorescences gradually halts due to a defect in the flowering repressor SELF PRUNING (SP). How sp facilitates sft overdominance is unclear, but is thought to relate to the opposing functions these genes have on flowering time and shoot architecture. We show that sft mutant heterozygosity (sft/+) causes weak semi-dominant delays in flowering of both primary and side shoots. Using transcriptome sequencing of shoot meristems, we demonstrate that this delay begins before seedling meristems become reproductive, followed by delays in subsequent side shoot meristems that, in turn, postpone the arrest of shoot and inflorescence production. Reducing SFT levels in sp plants by artificial microRNAs recapitulates the dose-dependent modification of shoot and inflorescence production of sft/+ heterozygotes, confirming that fine-tuning levels of functional SFT transcripts provides a foundation for higher yields. Finally, we show that although flowering delays by florigen mutant heterozygosity are conserved in Arabidopsis, increased yield is not, likely because cyclical flowering is absent. We suggest sft heterozygosity triggers a yield improvement by optimizing plant architecture via its dosage response in the florigen pathway. Exploiting dosage sensitivity of florigen and its family members therefore provides a path to enhance productivity in other crops, but species-specific tuning will be required.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transition to flowering is a major determinant of plant architecture, and variation in the timing of flowering can have profound effects on inflorescence architecture, flower production and yield. Here, we show that the tomato mutant terminating flower (tmf) flowers early and converts the multiflowered inflorescence into a solitary flower as a result of precocious activation of a conserved floral specification complex encoded by ANANTHA (AN) and FALSIFLORA (FA). Without TMF, the coordinated flowering process is disrupted, causing floral identity genes, such as AN and members of the SEPALLATA (SEP) family, to activate precociously, while the expression of flowering transition genes, such as FRUITFULL (FUL), is delayed. Indeed, driving AN expression precociously is sufficient to cause early flowering, and this expression transforms multiflowered inflorescences into normal solitary flowers resembling those of the Solanaceae species petunia and tobacco. Thus, by timing AN activation, TMF synchronizes flower formation with the gradual reproductive transition, which, in turn, has a key role in determining simple versus complex inflorescences.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a major crop plant and a model system for fruit development. Solanum is one of the largest angiosperm genera1 and includes annual and perennial plants from diverse habitats. Here we present a high-quality genome sequence of domesticated tomato, a draft sequence of its closest wild relative, Solanum pimpinellifolium2, and compare them to each other and to the potato genome (Solanum tuberosum). The two tomato genomes show only 0.6% nucleotide divergence and signs of recent admixture, but show more than 8% divergence from potato, with nine large and several smaller inversions. In contrast to Arabidopsis, but similar to soybean, tomato and potato small RNAs map predominantly to gene-rich chromosomal regions, including gene promoters. The Solanum lineage has experienced two consecutive genome triplications: one that is ancient and shared with rosids, and a more recent one. These triplications set the stage for the neofunctionalization of genes controlling fruit characteristics, such as colour and fleshiness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flower production and crop yields are highly influenced by the architectures of inflorescences. In the compound inflorescences of tomato and related nightshades (Solanaceae), new lateral inflorescence branches develop on the flanks of older branches that have terminated in flowers through a program of plant growth known as "sympodial." Variability in the number and organization of sympodial branches produces a remarkable array of inflorescence architectures, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying sympodial growth and branching diversity. One hypothesis is that the rate of termination modulates branching. By performing deep sequencing of transcriptomes, we have captured gene expression dynamics from individual shoot meristems in tomato as they gradually transition from a vegetative state to a terminal flower. Surprisingly, we find thousands of age-dependent expression changes, even when there is little change in meristem morphology. From these data, we reveal that meristem maturation is an extremely gradual process defined molecularly by a "meristem maturation clock." Using hundreds of stage-enriched marker genes that compose this clock, we show that extreme branching, conditioned by loss of expression of the COMPOUND INFLORESCENCE gene, is driven by delaying the maturation of both apical and lateral meristems. In contrast, we find that wild tomato species display a delayed maturation only in apical meristems, which leads to modest branching. Our systems genetics approach reveals that the program for inflorescence branching is initiated surprisingly early during meristem maturation and that evolutionary diversity in inflorescence architecture is modulated by heterochronic shifts in the acquisition of floral fate.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2011; 109(2):639-44. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intercrossing different varieties of plants frequently produces hybrid offspring with superior vigor and increased yields, in a poorly understood phenomenon known as heterosis. One classical unproven model for heterosis is overdominance, which posits in its simplest form that improved vigor can result from a single heterozygous gene. Here we report that heterozygosity for tomato loss-of-function alleles of SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS (SFT), which is the genetic originator of the flowering hormone florigen, increases yield by up to 60%. Yield overdominance from SFT heterozygosity is robust, occurring in distinct genetic backgrounds and environments. We show that several traits integrate pleiotropically to drive heterosis in a multiplicative manner, and these effects derive from a suppression of growth termination mediated by SELF PRUNING (SP), an antagonist of SFT. Our findings provide the first example of a single overdominant gene for yield and suggest that single heterozygous mutations may improve productivity in other agricultural organisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variation in the branching of plant inflorescences determines flower number and, consequently, reproductive success and crop yield. Nightshade (Solanaceae) species are models for a widespread, yet poorly understood, program of eudicot growth, where short side branches are initiated upon floral termination. This "sympodial" program produces the few-flowered tomato inflorescence, but the classical mutants compound inflorescence (s) and anantha (an) are highly branched, and s bears hundreds of flowers. Here we show that S and AN, which encode a homeobox transcription factor and an F-box protein, respectively, control inflorescence architecture by promoting successive stages in the progression of an inflorescence meristem to floral specification. S and AN are sequentially expressed during this gradual phase transition, and the loss of either gene delays flower formation, resulting in additional branching. Independently arisen alleles of s account for inflorescence variation among domesticated tomatoes, and an stimulates branching in pepper plants that normally have solitary flowers. Our results suggest that variation of Solanaceae inflorescences is modulated through temporal changes in the acquisition of floral fate, providing a flexible evolutionary mechanism to elaborate sympodial inflorescence shoots.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resolving natural phenotypic variation into genetic and molecular components is a major objective in biology. Over the past decade, tomato interspecific introgression lines (ILs), each carrying a single 'exotic' chromosome segment from a wild species, have exposed thousands of quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting plant adaptation, morphology, yield, metabolism, and gene expression. QTL for fruit size and sugar composition were isolated by map-based cloning, while others were successfully implemented in marker-assisted breeding programs. More recently, integrating the multitude of IL-QTL into a single database has unraveled some unifying principles about the architecture of complex traits in plants.
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 01/2008; 17(6):545-52. · 7.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterosis results in the phenotypic superiority of a hybrid over its parents with respect to traits such as growth rate, reproductive success and yield. This hybrid vigor is determined by non-mutually exclusive mechanisms, including dominance complementation, overdominance and epistasis. Heterotic genes responsible for elevating crop yields are now being sought using genomics, particularly transcriptomics, but with contradictory results. Because heterosis is an environmentally modified quantitative phenotype, genomic analyses alone will not suffice. Future research should focus on integrating genomic tools in a framework of comprehensive quantitative trait locus (QTL)-based phenotyping, followed by map-based cloning. This 'phenomics' approach should identify loci controlling heterotic phenotypes, and improve understanding of the role of heterosis in evolution and the domestication of crop plants.
Trends in Genetics 03/2007; 23(2):60-6. · 9.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is a major genetic force that contributes to world food production. The genetic basis of heterosis is not clear, and the importance of loci with overdominant (ODO) effects is debated. One problem has been the use of whole-genome segregating populations, where interactions often mask the effects of individual loci. To assess the contribution of ODO to heterosis in the absence of epistasis, we carried out quantitative genetic and phenotypic analyses on a population of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) introgression lines (ILs), which carry single marker-defined chromosome segments from the distantly related wild species Solanum pennellii. The ILs revealed 841 quantitative trait loci (QTL) for 35 diverse traits measured in the field on homozygous and heterozygous plants. ILs showing greater reproductive fitness were characterized by the prevalence of ODO QTL, which were virtually absent for the nonreproductive traits. ODO can result from true ODO due to allelic interactions of a single gene or from pseudoODO that involves linked loci with dominant alleles in repulsion. The fact that we detected dominant and recessive QTL for all phenotypic categories but ODO only for the reproductive traits indicates that pseudoODO due to random linkage is unlikely to explain heterosis in the ILs. Thus, we favor the true ODO model involving a single functional Mendelian locus. We propose that the alliance of ODO QTL with higher reproductive fitness was selected for in evolution and was domesticated by man to improve yields of crop plants.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(35):12981-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor