Auxin response factors (ARFs) are plant transcription factors that activate or repress the expression of auxin-responsive genes and accordingly, play key roles in auxin-mediated developmental processes. Here we identified and characterized the Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) ARF10 homolog (SlARF10), demonstrated that it is post-transcriptionally regulated by Sl-miR160, and investigated the significance of this regulation for tomato development. In wild-type tomato, SlARF10 is primarily expressed in the pericarp of mature and ripened fruit, showing an expression profile complementary to that of Sl-miR160. Constitutive expression of wild-type SlARF10 did not alter tomato development. However, transgenic tomato plants that constitutively expressed the Sl-miR160a-resistant version (mSlARF10) developed narrow leaflet blades, sepals and petals, and abnormally shaped fruit. During compound leaf development, mSlARF10 accumulation specifically inhibited leaflet blade outgrowth without affecting other auxin-driven processes such as leaflet initiation and lobe formation. Moreover, blade size was inversely correlated with mSlARF10 transcript levels, strongly implying that the SlARF10 protein, which was localized to the nucleus, can function as a transcriptional repressor of leaflet lamina outgrowth. Accordingly, known auxin-responsive genes, which promote cell growth, were downregulated in shoot apices that accumulated increased mSlARF10 levels. Taken together, we propose that repression of SlARF10 by Sl-miR160 is essential for auxin-mediated blade outgrowth and early fruit development.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 29, 2012
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