September 27, 2023

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. The 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.

Philippe Nicolas and others, Starch deficiency in tomato causes transcriptional reprogramming that modulates fruit development, metabolism, and stress responses, Journal of Experimental Botany, 2023;, erad212,

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