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Research article2009Peer reviewedOpen access

Abscisic acid levels in tomato ovaries are regulated by LeNCED1 and SlCYP707A1

Nitsch, Lisette Maria Catharina; Oplaat, Carla; Feron, Richard; Ma, Qian; Wolters-Arts, Mieke; Hedden, Peter; Mariani, Celestina; Vriezen, Wim Hendrik


Although the hormones, gibberellin and auxin, are known to play a role in the initiation of fruits, no such function has yet been demonstrated for abscisic acid (ABA). However, ABA signaling and ABA responses are high in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) ovaries before pollination and decrease thereafter (Vriezen et al. in New Phytol 177:60-76, 2008). As a first step to understanding the role of ABA in ovary development and fruit set in tomato, we analyzed ABA content and the expression of genes involved in its metabolism in relation to pollination. We show that ABA levels are relatively high in mature ovaries and decrease directly after pollination, while an increase in the ABA metabolite dihydrophaseic acid was measured. An important regulator of ABA biosynthesis in tomato is 9-cis-epoxy-carotenoid dioxygenase (LeNCED1), whose mRNA level in ovaries is reduced after pollination. The increased catabolism is likely caused by strong induction of one of four newly identified putative (+)ABA 8'-hydroxylase genes. This gene was named SlCYP707A1 and is expressed specifically in ovules and placenta. Transgenic plants, overexpressing SlCYP707A1, have reduced ABA levels and exhibit ABA-deficient phenotypes suggesting that this gene encodes a functional ABA 8'-hydroxylase. Gibberellin and auxin application have different effects on the LeNCED1 and SlCYP707A1 gene expression. The crosstalk between auxins, gibberellins and ABA during fruit set is discussed.


ABA metabolism; Abscisic acid; (+)ABA 8 '-hydroxylase; LeNCED1; SlCYP707A1; Tomato

Published in

2009, Volume: 229, number: 6, pages: 1335-1346

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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