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Giorio G.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | Yildirim A.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | Yildirim A.,Ege University | Stigliani A.L.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | D'Ambrosio C.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios
Metabolic Engineering | Year: 2013

Lutein is becoming increasingly important in preventive medicine due to its possible role in maintaining good vision and in preventing age-related maculopathy. Average daily lutein intake in developed countries is often below suggested daily consumption levels, and lutein supplementation could be beneficial. Lutein is also valuable in the food and feed industries and is emerging in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical markets. Currently, lutein is obtained at high cost from marigold petals, and synthesis alternatives are thus desirable. Tomato constitutes a promising starting system for production as it naturally accumulates high levels of lycopene. To develop tomato for lutein synthesis, the tomato Red Setter cultivar was transformed with the tomato lycopene ε-cyclase-encoding gene under the control of a constitutive promoter, and the HighDelta (HD) line, characterised by elevated lutein and δ-carotene content in ripe fruits, was selected. HD was crossed to the transgenic HC line and to RSB with the aim of converting all residual fruit δ-carotene to lutein. Fruits of both crosses were enriched in lutein and presented unusual carotenoid profiles. The unique genetic background of the crosses used in this study permitted an unprecedented analysis of the role and regulation of the lycopene cyclase enzymes in tomato.A new defined biochemical index, the relative cyclase activity ratio, was used to discern post-transcriptional regulation of cyclases, and will help in the study of carotenoid biosynthesis in photosynthetic plant species and particularly in those, like tomato, that have been domesticated for the production of food, feed or useful by-products. © 2013 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Source


Mazzucato A.,University of Tuscia | Cellini F.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | Bouzayen M.,National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse | Bouzayen M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 9 more authors.
Molecular Breeding | Year: 2015

Parthenocarpy is a desired trait in fruit crops; it enables fruit set under environmental conditions suboptimal for pollination, and seedless fruits represent a valuable consumer product. We employed TILLING-based screening of a mutant tomato population to find genetic lesions in Aux/IAA9, a negative regulator of the auxin response involved in the control of fruit set. We identified three mutations located in the coding region of this gene, including two single-base substitutions and one single-base deletion, which leads to a frame shift and premature stop codon. The transcription of IAA9 was strongly reduced in the frame-shift mutant, and partial loss of mutated protein activity was evidenced by an in vitro transactivation assay. Whereas missense mutations were predicted to be tolerated and did not cause mutant phenotypes, the frame-shift mutation-induced phenotypes expected for a loss of IAA9 function, including altered axillary shoot growth, reduced leaf compoundness and a strong tendency to produce parthenocarpic fruits. Mutant flowers showed pleiotropic anther cone defects, a phenotype frequently associated with parthenocarpy in tomato and other species. Mutant fruits were larger than those of the seeded control, with higher brix values and similar firmness. Fruit set was higher in the mutant than in wild type in the greenhouse, but lower in the open field. Facultative expression of parthenocarpy indicated that the mutant is suitable for hybrid seed production and for increasing seeds of parental lines. The results highlight the utility of this novel IAA9 allele for exploiting parthenocarpy by breeding tomato adapted to pollination-limiting growth conditions. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source


Petrozza A.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | Santaniello A.,PlantLab | Summerer S.,ALSIA Centro Ricerche Metapontum Agrobios | Di Tommaso G.,Valagro SpA | And 5 more authors.
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Drought is one of the most significant abiotic stresses that limits the growth and productivity of crop plants. We investigated the physiological and molecular responses of tomato plants treated with Megafol® (Valagro S.p.A), under specific drought conditions. The goal was to evaluate the impact of Megafol®, a biostimulant composed of a complex of vitamins, aminoacids, proteins and betaines, in attenuating the negative physiological responses of drought. Tomato plants were grown in a greenhouse, and physiological parameters were collected using Scanalyzer 3D (LemnaTec, GmbH), a plant phenomics platform. Using this technology it is possible to dynamically study the effects of biostimulants, such as Megafol®, on plant development in terms of early detection of physiological plant stress responses. The results showed that drought-stressed plants treated with Megafol® were healthier in terms of the biomass produced and chlorophyll fluorescence, thus highlighting the higher tolerance to stress of the treated plants. The effects of Megafol® were also studied at a molecular level by analysing the induction of genes typically involved in drought stress responses. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of Megafol® to reduce drought-stress related damage in tomato plants. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

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