Characterization of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) mutants affected in their flowering time and in the morphogenesis of their reproductive structure.J Exp Bot. 2006; 57(6):1381-90.JE
The impact of the season on flowering time and the organization and morphogenesis of the reproductive structures are described in three tomato mutants: compound inflorescence (s), single flower truss (sft), and jointless (j), respectively, compared with their wild-type cultivars Ailsa Craig (AC), Platense (Pl), and Heinz (Hz). In all environmental conditions, the sft mutant flowered significantly later than its corresponding Pl cultivar while flowering time in j was only marginally, but consistently, delayed compared with Hz. The SFT gene and, to a lesser extent, the J gene thus appear to be constitutive flowering promoters. Flowering in s was delayed in winter but not in summer compared with the AC cultivar, suggesting the existence of an environmentally regulated pathway for the control of floral transition. The reproductive structure of tomato is a raceme-like inflorescence and genes regulating its morphogenesis may thus be divided into inflorescence and floral meristem identity genes as in Arabidopsis. The s mutant developed highly branched inflorescences bearing up to 200 flowers due to the conversion of floral meristems into inflorescence meristems. The S gene appears to be a floral meristem identity gene. Both sft and j mutants formed reproductive structures containing flowers and leaves and reverting to a vegetative sympodial growth. The SFT gene appears to regulate the identity of the inflorescence meristem of tomato and is also involved, along with the J gene, in the maintenance of this identity, preventing reversion to a vegetative identity. These results are discussed in relation to knowledge accumulated in Arabidopsis and to domestication processes.