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Hormonal and epigenetic control of pollination-dependent and pollination-independent fruit-setting in tomato

Hu, Guojian. Hormonal and epigenetic control of pollination-dependent and pollination-independent fruit-setting in tomato. PhD, Développement des Plantes, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2017

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Abstract

The flower-to-fruit transition, so-called fruit setting, is triggered by flower pollination and this process is essential for plant reproductive success, seed formation and crop yield. The underlying molecular mechanisms controlling this developmental transition remain unclear. Histone marking and DNA methylation are the main epigenetic modes for genetic reprogramming, however, their respective contribution to the fruit set-associated transcriptomic reprogramming is also unknown. To address the contribution of the two types of epigenetic regulation to fruit set, genome-wide transcriptomic profiling, ChIP-sequencing and DNA bisulfite sequencing were applied to tomato, a major economic crop and a model system for fleshy fruit. The study emphasizes the tight correlation between histone repositioning and gene expression changes revealing that H3K9ac and H3K4me3 histone marks synergistically promote gene transcription, whereas H3K27me3 marking has a repressive effect. We concluded that changes in histone marks rather than in DNA methylation are the main drivers of genetic reprogramming associated with the fruit set transition in tomato, and H3K9ac and H3K4me3 marking is the primary players in this control mechanism. Consistently, the expression level of fruit set-associated genes such as those related to hormone metabolism, cell division, and embryo development correlated with changes in H3K9ac or H3K4me3 marking, but not with DNA methylation. In addition, comparative study of transcriptomic profiling between pollination-dependent and -independent fruit set, uncovered the complex intervention of multiple hormone signaling pathways involved in the flower-to-fruit transition. Auxin appears as the central hormone triggering the extensive transcriptomic reprogramming associated with the initiation of early fruit growth. Altogether, the study provides new insight into the control of gene reprogramming underlying fruit the shift from flower to fruit and uncovers a set of genes encoding modifiers of epigenetic marks which may provide new targets for breeding programs aiming to improve fruit setting, a major process impacting crop yield.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
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Research Director:
Bouzayen, Mondher and Zouine, Mohamed
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Deposited On:11 Oct 2017 09:31

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