A transcriptomic, metabolomic and cellular approach to the physiological adaptation of tomato fruit to high temperature

Juliana Almeida Barros da Silva, Laura Perez, Paul Fraser

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High temperatures can negatively influence plant growth and development. Besides yield, the effects of heat stress on fruit quality traits remain poorly characterised. In tomato, insights into how fruits regulate cellular metabolism in response to heat stress could contribute to the development of heat-tolerant varieties, without detrimental effects on quality. In the present study, the changes occurring in wild type tomato fruits after exposure to transient heat stress have been elucidated at the transcriptome, cellular and metabolite level. An impact on fruit quality was evident as nutritional attributes changed in response to heat stress. Fruit carotenogenesis was affected, predominantly at the stage of phytoene formation, although altered desaturation/isomerisation arose during the transient exposure to high temperatures. Plastidial isoprenoid compounds showed subtle alterations in their distribution within chromoplast sub-compartments. Metabolite profiling suggests limited effects on primary/intermediary metabolism but lipid remodelling was evident. The heat-induced molecular signatures included the accumulation of sucrose and triacylglycerols, and a decrease in the degree of membrane lipid unsaturation, which influenced the volatile profile. Collectively, these data provide valuable insights into the underlying biochemical and molecular adaptation of fruit to heat stress and will impact on our ability to develop future climate resilient tomato varieties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2211-2229
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number7
Early online date21 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Heat stress; Tomato; Fruit quality; Transcriptomics, Metabolomics, Isoprenoids, Carotenoids, Plastoglobuli, Fruit ripening

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