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Post-transcriptional regulation of fruit ripening and disease resistance in tomato by the vacuolar protease SlVPE3
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Wang WH, Cai JH, Wang PW, Tian SP, Qin GZ*
PubYear : 2017
Volume : 18  Issue : 1
Publication Name : Genome Biology
Page number : 47
Abstract : 


Proteases represent one of the most abundant classes of enzymes in eukaryotes and are known to play key roles in many biological processes in plants. However, little is known about their functions in fruit ripening and disease resistance, which are unique to flowering plants and required for seed maturation and dispersal. Elucidating the genetic mechanisms of fruit ripening and disease resistance is an important goal given the biological and dietary significance of fruit. 


Through expression profile analyses of genes encoding tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cysteine proteases, we identify a number of genes whose expression increases during fruit ripening. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated repression of SlVPE3, a vacuolar protease gene, results in alterations in fruit pigmentation, lycopene biosynthesis, and ethylene production, suggesting that SlVPE3 is necessary for normal fruit ripening. Surprisingly, the SlVPE3 RNAi fruit are more susceptible to the necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Quantitative proteomic analysis identified 314 proteins that differentially accumulate upon SlVPE3 silencing, including proteins associated with fruit ripening and disease resistance. To identify the direct SlVPE3 targets and mechanisms contributing to fungal pathogen resistance, we perform a screening of SlVPE3-interacting proteins using co-immunoprecipitation coupled with mass spectrometry. We show that SlVPE3 is required for the cleavage of the serine protease inhibitor KTI4, which contributes to resistance against the fungal pathogen B. cinerea. 


Our findings contribute to elucidating gene regulatory networks and mechanisms that control fruit ripening and disease resistance responses. 

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