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Gr and hp-1 tomato mutants unveil unprecedented interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis and fruit ripening

Chialva, Matteo, Zouari, Inès, Salvioli, Alessandra, Novero, Mara, Vrebalov, Julia, Giovannoni, James J., Bonfante, Paola
Planta 2016 v.244 no.1 pp. 155-165
Glomus mosseae, ethylene, fruits, gene expression, genes, metabolism, mutants, mutation, mycorrhizal fungi, phenology, phenotype, phosphates, ripening, small fruits, tomatoes, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
MAIN CONCLUSION : Systemic responses to an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus reveal opposite phenological patterns in two tomato ripening mutants depending whether ethylene or light reception is involved. The availability of tomato ripening mutants has revealed many aspects of the genetics behind fleshy fruit ripening, plant hormones and light signal reception. Since previous analyses revealed that arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis influences tomato berry ripening, we wanted to test the hypothesis that an interplay might occur between root symbiosis and fruit ripening. With this aim, we screened seven tomato mutants affected in the ripening process for their responsiveness to the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Funneliformis mosseae. Following their phenological responses we selected two mutants for a deeper analysis: Green ripe (Gr), deficient in fruit ethylene perception and high-pigment-1 (hp-1), displaying enhanced light signal perception throughout the plant. We investigated the putative interactions between ripening processes, mycorrhizal establishment and systemic effects using biochemical and gene expression tools. Our experiments showed that both mutants, notwithstanding a normal mycorrhizal phenotype at root level, exhibit altered arbuscule functionality. Furthermore, in contrast to wild type, mycorrhization did not lead to a higher phosphate concentration in berries of both mutants. These results suggest that the mutations considered interfere with arbuscular mycorrhiza inducing systemic changes in plant phenology and fruits metabolism. We hypothesize a cross talk mechanism between AM and ripening processes that involves genes related to ethylene and light signaling.