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VG, encoding a thylakoid formation protein, regulates the formation of variegated leaves in tomato
Horticultural Plant Journal  (IF4.24),  Pub Date : 2022-04-26, DOI: 10.1016/j.hpj.2022.04.006
Jianwen Song, Lijie Guo, Lele Shang, Wenqian Wang, Chuying Yu, Zhibiao Ye, Junhong Zhang

Leaf-color mutations have been studied extensively in plants. However, to better understand the complex mechanisms underlying the formation of leaf color, it is essential to continue discover novel genes involved in the process of leaf color development. In this study, we identified a variegated-leaf (vg) mutant in tomato that exhibited defective phenotypes in thylakoids and photosynthesis. To clone the vg locus, an F2 population was constructed from the cross between the vg mutant (Solanum lycopersicum) and the wild tomato LA1589 (S. pimpinellifolium). Using the map-based cloning approach, the vg locus was mapped on chromosome 7 and narrowed down to a 128-kb region that contained 21 open reading frames (ORFs). The expression levels of ORF9, ORF10, and ORF13 were significantly lower in vg than in the wild-type plants, while the ORF11 transcript level was elevated in vg. We then mutagenized ORF9, ORF10, and ORF13 by the CRISPR/Cas9 system in the wild-type tomato background and found that only the ORF10 mutation reproduced the phenotype of variegated leaves, indicating that ORF10 represents VG and its down-regulated expression was responsible for the variegated leaf phenotype. ORF10 encodes a thylakoid formation protein and its mutant lines showed reduced levels of chlorophyll synthesis and photosynthesis. Taken together, these results suggest that VG is necessary for chloroplast development, chlorophyll synthesis, and photosynthesis in tomato.