Genomics

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Tomato fruit susceptibility to fungal disease is not an inevitable outcome of ripening and can be uncoupled by targeting susceptibility factors


ABSTRACT: The increased susceptibility of ripe fruit to fungal pathogens poses a substantial threat to crop production and marketability. Here, we coupled transcriptomic analyses with mutant studies to uncover critical genes and processes governing ripening-associated susceptibility in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit. Using wild-type unripe and ripe fruit inoculated with three fungal pathogens—Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium acuminatum, and Rhizopus stolonifer—we identified common pathogen response genes reliant on chitinases, WRKY transcription factors, and reactive oxygen species detoxification. Interestingly, susceptible ripe fruit demonstrated a more extensive defense response than resistant unripe fruit, indicating that the magnitude and diversity of defense response does not significantly impact the interaction. To tease apart individual features of ripening that may be responsible for susceptibility, we utilized three tomato non-ripening mutants: Cnr, rin and nor. Fruit from these mutants displayed different patterns of susceptibility to fungal infection. Functional analysis of the genes altered during ripening in the susceptible genotypes revealed losses in the maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis. Moreover, jasmonic acid accumulation and signaling coincided with the activation of defenses in resistant fruit. Lastly, based on high gene expression in susceptible fruit, we identified and tested two candidate susceptibility factors, pectate lyase (PL) and polygalacturonase (PG2a). CRISPR-based knockouts of PL, but not PG2a, resulted in more than 50% decrease in the susceptibility of ripe fruit, demonstrating that PL is a major susceptibility factor. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that targeting specific genes that drive susceptibility is a viable strategy to improve resistance of tomato fruit against fungal pathogens. Overall design: wild-type unripe/ripe fruit and three tomato non-ripening mutants (Cnr, rin and nor) inoculated with three fungal pathogens - Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium acuminatum, and Rhizopus stolonifer. At 1 dpi, fruit pericarp and epidermal tissue of the blossom end halves of healthy, wounded, and infected fruit were collected

INSTRUMENT(S): Illumina HiSeq 4000 (Solanum lycopersicum)

SUBMITTER: Barbara Blanco-Ulate  

PROVIDER: GSE148217 | GEO | 2020-04-08

REPOSITORIES: GEO

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