Characterization of the procera tomato mutant shows novel functions of the SlDELLA protein in the control of flower morphology, cell division and expansion, and the auxin-signaling pathway during fruit-set and development.Plant Physiol. 2012 Nov; 160(3):1581-96.PP
procera (pro) is a tall tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) mutant carrying a point mutation in the GRAS region of the gene encoding SlDELLA, a repressor in the gibberellin (GA) signaling pathway. Consistent with the SlDELLA loss of function, pro plants display a GA-constitutive response phenotype, mimicking wild-type plants treated with GA₃. The ovaries from both nonemasculated and emasculated pro flowers had very strong parthenocarpic capacity, associated with enhanced growth of preanthesis ovaries due to more and larger cells. pro parthenocarpy is facultative because seeded fruits were obtained by manual pollination. Most pro pistils had exserted stigmas, thus preventing self-pollination, similar to wild-type pistils treated with GA₃ or auxins. However, Style2.1, a gene responsible for long styles in noncultivated tomato, may not control the enhanced style elongation of pro pistils, because its expression was not higher in pro styles and did not increase upon GA₃ application. Interestingly, a high percentage of pro flowers had meristic alterations, with one additional petal, sepal, stamen, and carpel at each of the four whorls, respectively, thus unveiling a role of SlDELLA in flower organ development. Microarray analysis showed significant changes in the transcriptome of preanthesis pro ovaries compared with the wild type, indicating that the molecular mechanism underlying the parthenocarpic capacity of pro is complex and that it is mainly associated with changes in the expression of genes involved in GA and auxin pathways. Interestingly, it was found that GA activity modulates the expression of cell division and expansion genes and an auxin signaling gene (tomato AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR7) during fruit-set.