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Article|01 Apr 2021|OPEN
The histone variant Sl_H2A.Z regulates carotenoid biosynthesis and gene expression during tomato fruit ripening
Xuedong Yang1, Xuelian Zhang1, Youxin Yang2, Hui Zhang1, Wen-Feng Nie3 & Weimin Zhu1,
1Shanghai Key Laboratory of Protected Horticultural Technology, Horticulture Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 201403 Shanghai, China
2Department of Horticulture, College of Agronomy, Jiangxi Agricultural University, 330045 Nanchang, Jiangxi, China
3Department of Horticulture, College of Horticulture and Plant Protection, Yangzhou University, 225009 Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 85 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.85
Views: 260

Received: 15 Oct 2020
Revised: 15 Jan 2021
Accepted: 24 Jan 2021
Published online: 01 Apr 2021


The conserved histone variant H2A.Z is essential for transcriptional regulation; defense responses; and various biological processes in plants, such as growth, development, and flowering. However, little is known about how H2A.Z affects the developmental process and ripening of tomato fruits. Here, we utilized the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system to generate a sl_hta9 sl_hta11 double-mutant, designated sl_h2a.z, and found that these two mutations led to a significant reduction in the fresh weight of tomato fruits. Subsequent messenger RNA (mRNA)-seq results showed that dysfunction of Sl_H2A.Z has profound effects on the reprogramming of genome-wide gene expression at different developmental stages of tomato fruits, indicating a ripening-dependent correlation between Sl_H2A.Z and gene expression regulation in tomato fruits. In addition, the expression of three genes, SlPSY1, SlPDS, and SlVDE, encoding the key enzymes in the biosynthesis pathway of carotenoids, was significantly upregulated in the later ripening stages, which was consistent with the increased contents of carotenoids in sl_h2a.z double-mutant fruits. Overall, our study reveals a role of Sl_H2A.Z in the regulation of carotenoids and provides a resource for the study of Sl_H2A.Z-dependent gene expression regulation. Hence, our results provide a link between epigenetic regulation via histone variants and fruit development, suggesting a conceptual framework to understand how histone variants regulate tomato fruit quality.