Evaluation of Tomato Genetic Resources for Response to Water Deficit


Water deficit strongly affects plant yield and quality. However, plants can minimize drought injury by adaptation mechanisms that have evolved to escape harmful conditions. The response to water deprivation is a complex trait controlled by several genes. In order to gain a deeper understanding of drought response mechanisms in tomato, a collection of 27 genotypes was studied under different water deficit conditions. Since developmental stages might be differently influenced by drought, analyses were carried out on young plantlets during fruit setting. The only genotype that showed good performances both as water retention and fruit production was the ecotype Siccagno. All the genotypes were analyzed at molecular level with the aim of detecting structural polymorphisms in selected stress-responsive genes. In addition, the expression level of a number of these genes was measured in the genotypes more tolerant to water deficit. Many polymorphisms were detected in six stress-responsive genes, and some could imply significant modifications in the protein structure. Furthermore, the expression analysis by RT-qPCR of three stress-responsive genes allowed arguing that a higher level of expression of the gene erd15 might be related to the better response to water deficit exhibited by Siccagno. Similarly, the lower expression of eight genes in the same genotype analysed through a microarray experiment confirmed the involvement of these stress-related genes in the tomato response to drought. Further investigations are required for a better comprehension of the mechanisms underlying response to water deficit in tomato by exploiting the genetic resource identified as more tolerant. The use of new technologies able to globally analyze structural polymorphism and expression level of genes will succeed to identify crucial genes involved in stress response in the ecotype Siccagno grown under different water regimes.

Share and Cite:

A. Sacco, B. Greco, A. Matteo, R. Stefano and A. Barone, "Evaluation of Tomato Genetic Resources for Response to Water Deficit," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 12C, 2013, pp. 131-145. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.412A3016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] T. Umezawa, M. Fujita, Y. Fujita, K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki and K. Shinozaki, “Engineering Drought Tolerance in Plants: Discovering and Tailoring Genes to Unlock the Future,” Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2006, pp. 113-122.
[2] J. C. Cushman and H. J. Bohnert, “Genomic Approaches to Plant Stress Tolerance,” Current Opinion in Plant Biology, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2000, pp. 117-124.
[3] V. Chinnusamy, K. Schumaker and J. Zhu, “Molecular Genetic Perspectives on Cross-Talk and Specificity in Abiotic Stress Signalling in Plants,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 55, No. 395, 2004, pp. 225-236.
[4] M. Seki, T. Umezawa, K. Urano and K. Shinozaki, “Regulatory Metabolic Networks in Drought Stress Responses,” Current Opinion in Plant Biology, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2007, pp. 296-302. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2007.04.014
[5] M. Seki, M. Narusaka, J. Ishida, T. Nanjo, M. Fujita, Y. Oono, A. Kamiya, M. Nakajima, A. Enju, T. Sakurai, M. Satou, K. Akiyama, T. Taji, K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, .P. Carninci, J. Kawai, Y. Hayashizaki and K. Shinozaki, “Monitoring the Expression Profiles of 7000 Arabidopsis Genes under Drought, Cold and High-Salinity Stresses Using a Full-Length cDNA Microarray,” Plant Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2002, pp. 279-292.
[6] M. A. Rabbani, K. Maruyama, H. Abe, M. A. Khan, K. Katsura, Y. Ito, K. Yoshiwara, M. Seki, K. Shinozaki and K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, “Monitoring Expression Profiles of Rice Genes under Cold, Drought, and High-Salinity Stresses and Abscisic Acid Application Using cDNA Microarray and RNA Gel-Blot Analyses,” Plant Physiology, Vol. 133, No. 4, 2003, pp. 1755-1767.
[7] P. Gong, J. Zhang, H. Li, C. Yang, C. Zhang, X. Zhang, Z. Khurram, Y. Zhang, T. Wang, Z. Fei and Z. Ye, “Transcriptional Profiles of Drought-Responsive Genes in Modulating Transcription Signal Transduction, and Biochemical Pathways in Tomato,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 61, No. 13, 2010, pp. 3563-3575.
[8] E. A. Bray, “Genes Commonly Regulated by Water-Deficit Stress in Arabidopsis Thaliana,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 55, No. 407, 2004, pp. 2331-2341. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erh270
[9] M. Seki, M. Satou, T. Sakurai, K. Akiyama, K. Iida, J. Ishida, M. Nakajima, A. Enju, M. Narusaka, M. Fujita, Y. Oono, A. Kamei, K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki and K. Shinozaki, “RIKEN Arabidopsis Full-Length (RAFL) cDNA and Its Applications for Expression Profiling under Abiotic Stress Conditions,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 55, No. 395, 2004, pp. 213-223.
[10] R. R. Mir, M. Zaman-Allah, N. Sreenivasulu, R. Trethowan and R. K. Varshney, “Integrated Genomics, Physiology and Breeding Approaches for Improving Drought Tolerance in Crops,” Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Vol. 125, No. 4, 2012, pp. 625-645.
[11] M. R. Foolad, “Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding of Tomato,” International Journal of Plant Genomics, Vol. 2007, 2007, Article ID: 64358.
[12] R. Tuberosa and S. Salvi, “Genomics-Based Approaches to Improve Drought Tolerance of Crops,” Trends Plant Science, Vol. 11, No. 8, 2006, pp. 405-412.
[13] The Tomato Genome Consortium, “The Tomato Genome Sequence Provides Insights into Fleshy Fruit Evolution,” Nature, Vol. 485, No. 7400, 2012, pp. 635-641.
[14] T. Suprunova, T. Krugman, T. Fahima, G. Chen, I. Shams, A. Korol and E. Nevo, “Differential Expression of Dehydrin Genes in Wild Barley, Hordeum spontaneum, Associated with Resistance to Water Deficit,” Plant, Cell & Environment, Vol. 27, No. 10, 2004, pp. 1297-1308.
[15] H. D. Barrs and P. E. Weatherley, “A Re-Examination of the Relative Turgidity Technique for Estimating Water Deficit in Leaves,” Australian Journal of Biological Science, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1962, pp. 413-428.
[16] K. J. Livak and T. D. Schmittgen, “Analysis of Relative Gene Expression Data Using Real-Time Quantitative PCR and the 2-ΔΔCT Method,” Methods, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2001, pp. 402-408.
[17] D. J. Flower and M. M. Ludlow, “Contribution of Osmotic Adjustment to the Dehydration Tolerance of Water-Stressed Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) millsp.) Leaves,” Plant, Cell & Environment, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1986, pp. 33-40.
[18] P. Rampino, S. Pataleo, C. Gerardi, G. Mita and C. Perrotta, “Drought Stress Response in Wheat: Physiological and Molecular Analysis of Resistant and Sensitive Genotypes,” Plant, Cell and Environment, Vol. 29, No. 12, 2006, pp. 2143-2152.
[19] A. Van Deynze, K Stoffel, C. R. Buell, A. Kozik, J. Liu, E. van der Knaap and D. Francis, “Diversity in Conserved Genes in Tomato,” BMC Genomics, Vol. 8, 2007, p. 465.
[20] C. Patanè and S. L. Cosentino, “Effects of Soil Water Deficit on Yield and Quality of Processing Tomato under a Mediterranean Climate,” Agricultural Water Management, Vol. 97, No. 1, 2010, pp. 131-138.
[21] C. Jonak, W. Ligterink and H. Hirt, “MAP Kinases in Plant Signal Transduction,” Cellular and Molecular Life Science, Vol. 45, 1999, pp. 204-213.
[22] R. Ulm, E. Revenkova, G. P di Sansebastiano, N. Bechtold and J. Paszkowski, “Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatase Is Required for Genotoxic Stress Relief in Arabidopsis,” Genes and Development, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2001, pp. 699-709. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.192601
[23] R. R. Finkelstein, S. S. L. Gampala and C. D. Rock, “Abscisic Acid Signaling in Seeds and Seedlings,” Plant Cell, Vol. 14, 2002, pp. S15-S45.
[24] M. I. Giombini, N. Frankel N. D. Iusem and E. Hasson, “Nucleotide Polymorphism in the Drought Responsive Gene Asr2 in Wild Populations of Tomato,” Genetica, Vol. 136, No. 1, 2009. pp. 13-25.
[25] M. M. Parra, O. del Pozo, R. Luna, J. A. Godoy and J. A. Pintor-Toro, “Structure of the Dehydrin tas14 Gene of Tomato and Its Developmental and Environmental Regulation in Transgenic Tobacco,” Plant Molecular Biology, Vol. 32, No. 3, 1996, pp. 453-460.
[26] J. A. Godoy, R. Luna, S. Torres-Schumann, J. Moreno, R. M. Rodrigo and J. A. Pintor-Toro, “Expression, Tissue Distribution and Subcellular Localization of Dehydrin TAS14 in Salt-Stressed Tomato Plants,” Plant Molecular Biology, Vol. 26, No. 6, 1994, pp. 1921-1934.
[27] S. Torres-Schumann, J. A. Godoy and J. A. Pintor-Toro, “A Probable Lipid Transfer Protein Gene Is Induced by NaCl in Stems of Tomato Plants,” Plant Molecular Biology, Vol. 18, No. 4, 1992, pp. 749-757.
[28] M. B. Treviño and M. A. O’Connell, “Three Drought-Responsive Members of the Nonspecific Lipid-Transfer Protein Gene Family in Lycopersicon pennellii Show Different Developmental Patterns of Expression,” Plant Physiology, Vol. 116, No. 4, 1998, pp. 1461-1468.
[29] T. Kariola, G. Brader, E. Helenius, J. Li, P. Heino and E. T. Palva, “Early Responsive to Dehydration 15, a Negative Regulator of Abscisic Acid Responses in Arabidopsis,” Plant Physiology, Vol. 142, No. 4, 2006, pp. 1559-1573. http://dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.106.086223
[30] T. Kiyosue, K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki and K. Shinozaki, “ERD15, a cDNA for a Dehydration-Induced Gene from Arabidopsis Thaliana,” Plant Physiology, Vol. 106, No. 4, 1994, p. 1707. http://dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.106.4.1707
[31] O. Ben-Naim, R. Eshed, A. Parnis, P. Teper-Bamnolker, A. Shalit, G. Coupland, A. Samach and E. Lifschitz, “The CCAAT Binding Factor Can Mediate Interactions between CONSTANS-Like Proteins and DNA,” The Plant Journal, Vol. 46, No. 3, 2006, pp. 462-476.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.