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Convergence of developmental mutants into a single tomato model system: 'Micro-Tom' as an effective toolkit for plant development research

Rogério F Carvalho1, Marcelo L Campos1, Lilian E Pino12, Simone L Crestana1, Agustin Zsögön1, Joni E Lima12, Vagner A Benedito3 and Lázaro EP Peres1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Hormonal Control of Plant Development, Department of Biological Sciences (LCB), Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" (ESALQ), Universidade de São Paulo (USP) - Av. Pádua Dias, 11, CP 09, CEP 13418-900 Piracicaba - SP, Brazil

2 Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA), USP, Av. Centenário, 303, CEP 13400-970 Piracicaba, SP, Brazil

3 Genetics and Developmental Biology Program, Plant and Soil Sciences Division, West Virginia University, 2090 Agricultural Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA

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Plant Methods 2011, 7:18  doi:10.1186/1746-4811-7-18

Published: 29 June 2011



The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plant is both an economically important food crop and an ideal dicot model to investigate various physiological phenomena not possible in Arabidopsis thaliana. Due to the great diversity of tomato cultivars used by the research community, it is often difficult to reliably compare phenotypes. The lack of tomato developmental mutants in a single genetic background prevents the stacking of mutations to facilitate analysis of double and multiple mutants, often required for elucidating developmental pathways.


We took advantage of the small size and rapid life cycle of the tomato cultivar Micro-Tom (MT) to create near-isogenic lines (NILs) by introgressing a suite of hormonal and photomorphogenetic mutations (altered sensitivity or endogenous levels of auxin, ethylene, abscisic acid, gibberellin, brassinosteroid, and light response) into this genetic background. To demonstrate the usefulness of this collection, we compared developmental traits between the produced NILs. All expected mutant phenotypes were expressed in the NILs. We also created NILs harboring the wild type alleles for dwarf, self-pruning and uniform fruit, which are mutations characteristic of MT. This amplified both the applications of the mutant collection presented here and of MT as a genetic model system.


The community resource presented here is a useful toolkit for plant research, particularly for future studies in plant development, which will require the simultaneous observation of the effect of various hormones, signaling pathways and crosstalk.

hormonal mutants; Solanum lycopersicum; model organism; photomorphogenesis; plant development