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Knockout of Auxin Response Factor SlARF4 Improves Tomato Resistance to Water Deficit

Key Laboratory of Horticultural Crop Biology and Germplasm Innovation in South China, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Horticulture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
Institute of Bioengineering, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510316, China
Laboratory Genomics and Biotechnology of Fruits, INRA, Toulouse INP, University of Toulouse, 31320 Castanet Tolosan, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karen Skriver
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3347;
Received: 28 February 2021 / Revised: 20 March 2021 / Accepted: 22 March 2021 / Published: 25 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
Auxin response factors (ARFs) play important roles in various plant physiological processes; however, knowledge of the exact role of ARFs in plant responses to water deficit is limited. In this study, SlARF4, a member of the ARF family, was functionally characterized under water deficit. Real-time fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and β-glucuronidase (GUS) staining showed that water deficit and abscisic acid (ABA) treatment reduced the expression of SlARF4. SlARF4 was expressed in the vascular bundles and guard cells of tomato stomata. Loss of function of SlARF4 (arf4) by using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/Cas 9 (CRISPR/Cas 9) technology enhanced plant resistance to water stress and rehydration ability. The arf4 mutant plants exhibited curly leaves and a thick stem. Malondialdehyde content was significantly lower in arf4 mutants than in wildtype plants under water stress; furthermore, arf4 mutants showed higher content of antioxidant substances, superoxide dismutase, actual photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII), and catalase activities. Stomatal and vascular bundle morphology was changed in arf4 mutants. We identified 628 differentially expressed genes specifically expressed under water deficit in arf4 mutants; six of these genes, including ABA signaling pathway-related genes, were differentially expressed between the wildtype and arf4 mutants under water deficit and unlimited water supply. Auxin responsive element (AuxRE) elements were found in these genes’ promoters indicating that SlARF4 participates in ABA signaling pathways by regulating the expression of SlABI5/ABF and SCL3, thereby influencing stomatal morphology and vascular bundle development and ultimately improving plant resistance to water deficit. View Full-Text
Keywords: SlARF4; tomato; water deficit; drought; ABA; auxin SlARF4; tomato; water deficit; drought; ABA; auxin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, M.; Zhu, X.; Liu, X.; Wu, C.; Yu, C.; Hu, G.; Chen, L.; Chen, R.; Bouzayen, M.; Zouine, M.; Hao, Y. Knockout of Auxin Response Factor SlARF4 Improves Tomato Resistance to Water Deficit. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 3347.

AMA Style

Chen M, Zhu X, Liu X, Wu C, Yu C, Hu G, Chen L, Chen R, Bouzayen M, Zouine M, Hao Y. Knockout of Auxin Response Factor SlARF4 Improves Tomato Resistance to Water Deficit. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(7):3347.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Mengyi, Xiaoyang Zhu, Xiaojuan Liu, Caiyu Wu, Canye Yu, Guojian Hu, Lin Chen, Riyuan Chen, Mondher Bouzayen, Mohammed Zouine, and Yanwei Hao. 2021. "Knockout of Auxin Response Factor SlARF4 Improves Tomato Resistance to Water Deficit" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 7: 3347.

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