The identification of a gene (Cwp1), silenced during Solanum evolution, which causes cuticle microfissuring and dehydration when expressed in tomato fruit
One of the most intriguing phenomena of fleshy fruit is the ability to maintain high water content at maturity, even following harvest. This is accomplished by a fruit cuticle that is highly impermeable to water diffusion. In this paper, we report on a novel genotype of tomato, developed via introgression from the wild species Solanum habrochaites, which is characterized by microfissuring of the fruit cuticle and dehydration of the mature fruit. The microfissure/dehydration phenotype is inherited as a single gene, termed Cwp1 (cuticular water permeability). The gene was fine mapped, and its identity was determined by map-based cloning and differential expression analysis in near-isogenic lines. Causality of the Cwp1 gene was shown by the heterologous transgenic expression of the gene in the cultivated tomato, which caused a microfissured fruit cuticle leading to dehydrated fruit. Cwp1 encodes for a protein of unidentified function in the DUF833 domain family. The gene is expressed in the fruit epidermis of the dehydrating genotype harbouring the wild-species introgression, but not in the cultivated tomato. It is expressed only in the primitive green-fruited wild tomato species, but is not expressed in the cultivated Solanum lycopersicum and the closely related Solanum cheesmaniae and Solanum pimpinellifolium, indicating a pre-adaptive role for Cwp1 silencing in the evolution and domestication of the cultivated tomato.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Institute of Field and Garden Crops, ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel 2: Departments of Botany and Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Publication date: November 1, 2007