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SlCDF4 as a new key factor controlling tomato size and composition

Fruit size and quality traits are fundamentally determined by processes occurring during the cell expansion phase in the early stage of tomato fruit development Fruit growth in this phase is sustained by a large increase in cell volume linked to membrane and cell wall synthesis, and the accumulation of water, mineral ions and metabolites. Several transcription factors participate in the complex regulatory networks controlling the fruit development.

In a new collaborative study, we identified SlCDF4 as a novel transcription factor involved in tomato fruit growth. We showed that the SlCDF4 is highly expressed during the green phase of growth of tomato fruit development. Our results indicate that the targeted overexpression of SlCDF4 in the fruit activates the expression of genes involved in cell expansion and division. In addition, SlCDF4 also influences the amount of photoassimilates partitioned to the fruits. As result, we reported that a significant increase in fruit size and plant yield is induced when overexpressed specifically in the fruits. All these data indicated that the identified factor is new tool in crop breeding programs.

Figure. Phenotypic characterization of the tomato lines overexpressing the SlCDF4 gene under the control of the fruit specific PPC2 promoter (left panel). Effect of the overexpression of SlCDF4 in the fruit on cell size and number in the pericarp of fruits (right panel). (a) Micrograph of the number of cell layers and cell size at breaker stage. (b) Average number of cell layers and (c) mean cell area of the pericarp of control and transgenic lines (L2 and L6) at breaker stage.

Original Paper:

Renau-Morata, B., Carrillo, L., Cebolla-Cornejo, J., Molina, R.V., Martí, R., Domínguez-Figueroa, J., Vicente-Carbajosa, J., Medina, J., Nebauer, S.G. 2020. The targeted overexpression of SlCDF4 in the fruit enhances tomato size and yield involving gibberellin signalling. Scientific Reports 10, 10645. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-67537-x

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