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Supplemental blue and red light promote lycopene synthesis in tomato fruits

XIE, Bao-xing, WEI, Jing-jing, ZHANG, Yi-ting, SONG, Shi-wei, SU, Wei, SUN, Guang-wen, HAO, Yan-wei, LIU, Hou-cheng
Journal of integrative agriculture 2019 v.18 no.3 pp. 590-598
antioxidants, biosynthesis, blue light, crop production, cryptochromes, flowering, fruits, gene expression, genes, human health, hypocotyls, lighting, lycopene, phytochrome, phytoene synthase, receptors, red light, tomatoes
Lycopene, one of the strongest natural antioxidants known and the main carotene in ripe tomato, is very important for human health. Light is well known to be one of the most important environmental stimuli influencing lycopene biosynthesis; specifically, red light induces higher lycopene content in tomato. However, whether blue light promotes lycopene synthesis remains elusive and exactly how light stimulation promotes lycopene synthesis remains unclear. We applied supplemental blue and red lighting on tomato plants at anthesis to monitor the effect of supplemental blue and red lighting on lycopene synthesis. Our results showed that supplemental blue/red lighting induced higher lycopene content in tomato fruits; furthermore, we found that the expression of key genes in the lycopene synthesis pathway was induced by supplemented blue/red light. The expression of light signaling components, such as red-light receptor phytochromes (PHYs), blue-light receptor cryptochromes (CRYs) and light interaction factors, phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs) and ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5) were up- or down-regulated by blue/red lighting. Thus, blue and red light increased lycopene content in tomatoes by inducing light receptors that modulate HY5 and PIFs activation to mediate phytoene synthase 1 (PSY1) gene expression. These results provide a sound theoretical basis for further elucidation of the light regulating mechanism of lycopene synthesis in tomatoes, and for instituting a new generation of technological innovations for the enhancement of lycopene accumulation in crop production.