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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is the most widespread association between plant roots and fungi in natural and agricultural ecosystems. This work investigated the influence of mycorrhization on the economically relevant part of the tomato plant, by analyzing its impact on the physiology of the fruit. To this aim, a combination of phenological observations, transcriptomics (Microarrays and qRT-PCR) and biochemical analyses was used to unravel the changes that occur on fruits from Micro-Tom tomato plants colonized by the AM fungus Glomus mosseae.
Mycorrhization accelerated the flowering and fruit development and increased the fruit yield. Eleven transcripts were differentially regulated in the fruit upon mycorrhization, and the mycorrhiza-responsive genes resulted to be involved in nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism as well as in regulation and signal transduction. Mycorrhization has increased the amino acid abundance in the fruit from mycorrhizal plants, with glutamine and asparagine being the most responsive amino acids.
The obtained results offer novel data on the systemic changes that are induced by the establishment of AM symbiosis in the plant, and confirm the work hypothesis that AM fungi may extend their influence from the root to the fruit.