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1.  Ethylene is involved in maintaining tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) pollen quality under heat-stress conditions 
AoB Plants  2012;2012:pls024.
The paper supports the view that ethylene plays a significant role in maintaining tomato pollen thermotolerance. Interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway or reducing ethylene levels and increased tomato pollen sensitivity to heat stress. On the other hand, increasing ethylene levels before heat-stress improved pollen quality.
Background and aims
Exposure to higher-than-optimal temperatures reduces crop yield and quality, mainly due to sensitivity of developing pollen grains. The mechanisms maintaining high pollen quality under heat-stress conditions are poorly understood. Our recently published data indicate high heat-stress-induced expression of ethylene-responsive genes in tomato pollen, indicating ethylene involvement in the pollen heat-stress response. Here we elucidated ethylene's involvement in pollen heat-stress response and thermotolerance by assessing the effects of interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway and altering ethylene levels on tomato pollen functioning under heat stress.
Plants of the ethylene-insensitive mutant Never ripe (Nr)—defective in an ethylene response sensor (ERS)-like ethylene receptor—and the corresponding wild type were exposed to control or heat-stress growing conditions, and pollen quality was determined. Starch and carbohydrates were measured in isolated pollen grains from these plants. The effect of pretreating cv. Micro-Tom tomato plants, prior to heat-stress exposure, with an ethylene releaser or inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis on pollen quality was assessed.
Principal results
Never ripe pollen grains exhibited higher heat-stress sensitivity, manifested by a significant reduction in the total number of pollen grains, reduction in the number of viable pollen and elevation of the number of non-viable pollen, compared with wild-type plants. Mature Nr pollen grains accumulated only 40 % of the sucrose level accumulated by the wild type. Pretreatment of tomato plants with an ethylene releaser increased pollen quality under heat stress, with an over 5-fold increase in the number of germinating pollen grains per flower. Pretreatment with an ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor reduced the number of germinating pollen grains following heat-stress exposure over 5-fold compared with non-treated controls.
Ethylene plays a significant role in tomato pollen thermotolerance. Interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway or reducing ethylene levels increased tomato pollen sensitivity to heat stress, whereas increasing ethylene levels prior to heat-stress exposure increased pollen quality.
PMCID: PMC3461890  PMID: 23050072
2.  Identification of defense-related genes newly associated with tomato flower abscission 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(4):590-593.
The current abscission model suggests the formation of a post-abscission trans-differentiation of a protective layer as the last step of the process. The present report expands the repertoire of genes activated in the tomato flower abscission zone (AZ), which are likely to be involved in defense responses. We identified four different defense-related genes, including: Cysteine-type endopeptidase, α-Dioxygenase 1 (α-DOX1), HopW1-1-Interacting protein2 (WIN2) and Stomatal-derived factor-2 (SDF2), that are newly-associated with the late stage of the abscission process. The late expression of these genes, induced at 8–14 h after flower removal when pedicel abscission was already in progress, was AZ-specific, and was inhibited by treatments that prevented pedicel abscission, including 1-methylcyclopropene pretreatment or IAA application. This information supports the activation of different defense responses and strategies at the late abscission stages, which may enable efficient protection of the exposed tissue toward different environmental stresses.
PMCID: PMC3142400  PMID: 21543890
abscission zone; ethylene; IAA; 1-methylcyclopropene; pedicel abscission; protective layer; stress
3.  Differential Effects of NAA and 2,4-D in Reducing Floret Abscission in Cestrum (Cestrum elegans) Cut Flowers are Associated with their Differential Activation of Aux/IAA Homologous Genes 
Annals of Botany  2007;101(2):249-259.
Background and Aims
A previous study showed that the relative effectiveness of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) compared with that of 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) in reducing floret bud abscission in cestrum (Cestrum elegans) cut flowers was due to its acropetal transport. The aim of the present study was to examine if the differential effect of these auxins on floret abscission is reflected in the expression of Aux/IAA genes in the floret abscission zone (AZ).
cDNAs were isolated by PCR-based cloning from the floret AZ of auxin-treated cut flowers. The expression patterns of the cDNAs in various tissues and the effect of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), applied with or without cycloheximide, on their expression in the floret AZ were examined by northern blot analysis. The regulation of transcript accumulation in the floret AZ in response to NAA or 2,4-D was measured by real-time PCR during auxin pulsing of cut flowers and vase life, concomitantly with floret abscission.
Key Results
Six isolated cDNAs were identified to represent Aux/IAA homologous genes, designated as Cestrum elegans (Ce)-IAA1 to Ce-IAA6. Four Ce-IAA genes were characterized as early auxin-responsive genes (ARGs), and two (Ce-IAA1 and Ce-IAA5) as late ARGs. Only Ce-IAA5 was AZ-specific in floret buds. A temporal regulation of Ce-IAA transcript levels in the floret AZ was found, with 2,4-D inducing higher expression levels than NAA in floret buds. These Ce-IAA expression levels were negatively correlated with floret abscission.
The differential transport characteristics of NAA and 2,4-D in cestrum cut flowers were reflected in differential activation of the Ce-IAA genes identified in the floret AZ. Therefore, Aux/IAA genes can be used as molecular markers to measure auxin activity, which reflects free auxin level in the AZ. Two of the identified genes, Ce-IAA1 and Ce-IAA5, may also have a regulatory role in abscission.
PMCID: PMC2711013  PMID: 17591611
Abscission zone; auxin; Aux/IAA gene expression; Cestrum elegans; cut flowers; cycloheximide; 2,4-D; floret abscission; NAA

Results 1-3 (3)