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Genetic engineering of the biosynthesis of glycinebetaine enhances the fruit development and size of tomato

Zhang, Tianpeng, Liang, Jianan, Wang, Mengwei, Li, Daxing, Liu, Yang, Chen, Tony H.H., Yang, Xinghong
Plant science 2019 v.280 pp. 355-366
DNA replication, Solanum lycopersicum, abiotic stress, auxins, betaine, betaine-aldehyde dehydrogenase, biosynthesis, brassinolide, chlorophyll, choline oxidase, crops, cytokinins, fruiting, genetic engineering, gibberellins, growth and development, leaves, photosynthesis, plant growth, plant hormones, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, signal transduction, tomatoes, transcriptomics, transgenes, transgenic plants
Glycinebetaine has been widely considered as an effective protectant against abiotic stress in plants, and also found to promote plant growth under normal growing conditions, especially during the reproductive stage. Betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase (BADH) and choline oxidase (COD) are two key enzymes which have been used to confer glycinebetaine synthesis in plant which normally does not synthesis glycinebetaine. In this study, we used the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, cv ‘Moneymaker’) plants of wild-type and the transgenic lines codA (L1, L2) and BADH (2, 46), which were transformed with codA and BADH, respectively, to study the impact of glycinebetaine on tomato fruit development. Our results showed that the codA and BADH transgenes induced the formation of enlarged flowers and fruits in transgenic tomato plants. In addition, the transgenic tomato plants had a higher photosynthetic rate, higher assimilates content, and higher leaf chlorophyll content than the wild-type plants. We also found that the enlargement of fruit size was related to the contents of phytohormones, such as auxin, brassinolide, gibberellin, and cytokinin. Additionally, qPCR results indicated that the expressions levels of certain genes related to fruit growth and development were also elevated in transgenic plants. Finally, transcriptome sequencing results revealed that the differences in the levels of gene expression in tomato fruit between the transgenic and wild-type plants were observed in multiple pathways, predominantly those of photosynthesis, DNA replication, plant hormone signal transduction, and biosynthesis. Taken together, our results suggest that glycinebetaine promotes tomato fruit development via multiple pathways. We propose that genetic engineering of glycinebetaine synthesis offers a novel approach to enhance the productivity of tomato and other crop plants.