The Solanum lycopersicum auxin response factor 7 (SlARF7) regulates auxin signaling during tomato fruit set and development.Plant J. 2009 Jan; 57(1):160-70.PJ
Auxin response factors (ARFs) are encoded by a gene family of transcription factors that specifically control auxin-dependent developmental processes. A tomato ARF gene, homologous to Arabidopsis NPH4/ARF7 and therefore designated as Solanum lycopersicum ARF7 (SlARF7), was found to be expressed at a high level in unpollinated mature ovaries. More detailed analysis of tomato ovaries showed that the level of SlARF7 transcript increases during flower development, remains at a constant high level in mature flowers, and is down-regulated within 48 h after pollination. Transgenic plants with decreased SlARF7 mRNA levels formed seedless (parthenocarpic) fruits. These fruits were heart-shaped and had a rather thick pericarp due to increased cell expansion, compared with the pericarp of wild-type fruits. The expression analysis, together with the parthenocarpic fruit phenotype of the transgenic lines, suggests that, in tomato, SlARF7 acts as a negative regulator of fruit set until pollination and fertilization have taken place, and moderates the auxin response during fruit growth.