2019 Volume 36 Issue 3 Pages 143-153
Tomato is one of vegetables crops that has the highest value in the world. Thus, researchers are continually improving the agronomical traits of tomato fruits. Auxins and gibberellins regulate plant growth and development. Aux/indole-3-acetic acid 9 (SlIAA9) and the gene encoding the DELLA protein (SlDELLA) are well-known genes that regulate plant growth and development, including fruit set and enlargement by cell division and cell expansion. The absence of tomato SlIAA9 and SlDELLA results in abnormal shoot growth and leaf shape and giving rise to parthenocarpy. To investigate the key regulators that exist up- or downstream of SlIAA9 and SlDELLA signaling pathways for tomato growth and development, we performed gene co-expression network analysis by using publicly available microarray data to extract genes that are directly connected to the SlIAA9 and SlDELLA nodes, respectively. Consequently, we chose a gene in the group of heat-shock protein (HSP)70s that was connected with the SlIAA9 node and SlDELLA node in each co-expression network. To validate the extent of effect of SlHSP70-1 on tomato growth and development, overexpressing lines of the target gene were generated. We found that overexpression of the targeted SlHSP70-1 resulted in internode elongation, but the overexpressing lines did not show abnormal leaf shape, fruit set, or fruit size when compared with that of the wild type. Our study suggests that the targeted SlHSP70-1 is likely to function in shoot growth, like SlIAA9 and SlDELLA, but it does not contribute to parthenocarpy as well as fruit set. Our study also shows that only a single SlHSP70 out of 25 homologous genes could change the shoot length.