New insights into the roles of cucumber TIR1 homologs and miR393 in regulating fruit/seed set development and leaf morphogenesis

Jian Xu, Ji Li, Li Cui, Ting Zhang, Zhe Wu, Pin-Yu Zhu, Yong-Jiao Meng, Kai-Jing Zhang, Xia-Qing Yu, Qun-Feng Lou, Jin-Feng Chen
BMC Plant Biology 2017 July 26, 17 (1): 130

BACKGROUND: TIR1-like proteins act as auxin receptors and play essential roles in auxin-mediated plant development processes. The number of auxin receptor family members varies among species. While the functions of auxin receptor genes have been widely studied in Arabidopsis, the distinct functions of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) auxin receptors remains poorly understood. To further our understanding of their potential role in cucumber development, two TIR1-like genes were identified and designated CsTIR1 and CsAFB2. In the present study, tomato (Sonanum lycopersicum) was used as a model to investigate the phenotypic and molecular changes associated with the overexpression of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2.

RESULTS: Differences in the subcellular localizations of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2 were identified and both genes were actively expressed in leaf, female flower and young fruit tissues of cucumber. Moreover, CsTIR1- and CsAFB2-overexpressing lines exhibited pleotropic phenotypes ranging from leaf abnormalities to seed germination and parthenocarpic fruit compared with the wild-type plants. To further elucidate the regulation of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2, the role of the miR393/TIR1 module in regulating cucumber fruit set were investigated. Activation of miR393-mediated mRNA cleavage of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2 was revealed by qPCR and semi-qPCR, which highlighted the critical role of the miR393/TIR1 module in mediating fruit set development in cucumber.

CONCLUSION: Our results provide new insights into the involvement of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2 in regulating various phenotype alterations, and suggest that post-transcriptional regulation of CsTIR1 and CsAFB2 mediated by miR393 is essential for cucumber fruit set initiation. Collectively, these results further clarify the roles of cucumber TIR1 homologs and miR393 in regulating fruit/seed set development and leaf morphogenesis.


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