Carotenoid accumulation during tomato fruit ripening is modulated by the auxin-ethylene balance.BMC Plant Biol. 2015 May 08; 15:114.BP
Tomato fruit ripening is controlled by ethylene and is characterized by a shift in color from green to red, a strong accumulation of lycopene, and a decrease in β-xanthophylls and chlorophylls. The role of other hormones, such as auxin, has been less studied. Auxin is retarding the fruit ripening. In tomato, there is no study of the carotenoid content and related transcript after treatment with auxin.
We followed the effects of application of various hormone-like substances to "Mature-Green" fruits. Application of an ethylene precursor (ACC) or of an auxin antagonist (PCIB) to tomato fruits accelerated the color shift, the accumulation of lycopene, α-, β-, and δ-carotenes and the disappearance of β-xanthophylls and chlorophyll b. By contrast, application of auxin (IAA) delayed the color shift, the lycopene accumulation and the decrease of chlorophyll a. Combined application of IAA + ACC led to an intermediate phenotype. The levels of transcripts coding for carotenoid biosynthesis enzymes, for the ripening regulator Rin, for chlorophyllase, and the levels of ethylene and abscisic acid (ABA) were monitored in the treated fruits. Correlation network analyses suggest that ABA, may also be a key regulator of several responses to auxin and ethylene treatments.
The results suggest that IAA retards tomato ripening by affecting a set of (i) key regulators, such as Rin, ethylene and ABA, and (ii) key effectors, such as genes for lycopene and β-xanthophyll biosynthesis and for chlorophyll degradation.