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Hou, Liang-Yu; Ehrlich, Matthias; Thormaehlen, Ina; Lehmann, Martin; Krahnert, Ina; Obata, Toshihiro; Cejudo, Francisco J.; Fernie, Alisdair R.; Geigenberger, Peter (2019): NTRC Plays a Crucial Role in Starch Metabolism, Redox Balance, and Tomato Fruit Growth. In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 181, No. 3: pp. 976-992
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Abstract

NADPH-thioredoxin reductase C (NTRC) forms a separate thiol-reduction cascade in plastids, combining both NADPH-thioredoxin reductase and thioredoxin activities on a single polypeptide. While NTRC is an important regulator of photosynthetic processes in leaves, its function in heterotrophic tissues remains unclear. Here, we focus on the role of NTRC in developing tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits representing heterotrophic storage organs important for agriculture and human diet. We used a fruit-specific promoter to decrease NTRC expression by RNA interference in developing tomato fruits by 60% to 80% compared to the wild type. This led to a decrease in fruit growth, resulting in smaller and lighter fully ripe fruits containing less dry matter and more water. In immature fruits, NTRC downregulation decreased transient starch accumulation, which led to a subsequent decrease in soluble sugars in ripe fruits. The inhibition of starch synthesis was associated with a decrease in the redox-activation state of ADP-Glc pyrophosphorylase and soluble starch synthase, which catalyze the first committed and final polymerizing steps, respectively, of starch biosynthesis. This was accompanied by a decrease in the level of ADP-Glc. NTRC downregulation also led to a strong increase in the reductive states of NAD(H) and NADP(H) redox systems. Metabolite profiling of NTRC-RNA interference lines revealed increased organic and amino acid levels, but reduced sugar levels, implying that NTRC regulates the osmotic balance of developing fruits. These results indicate that NTRC acts as a central hub in regulating carbon metabolism and redox balance in heterotrophic tomato fruits, affecting fruit development as well as final fruit size and quality.