Peptide signaling for drought-induced tomato flower drop

Reichardt, Sven GND; Piepho, Hans-Peter GND; Stintzi, Annick GND; Schaller, Andreas GND

The premature abscission of flowers and fruits limits crop yield under environmental stress. Drought-induced flower drop in tomato plants was found to be regulated by phytosulfokine (PSK), a peptide hormone previously known for its growth-promoting and immune-modulating activities. PSK formation in response to drought stress depends on phytaspase 2, a subtilisin-like protease of the phytaspase subtype that generates the peptide hormone by aspartate-specific processing of the PSK precursor in the tomato flower pedicel. The mature peptide acts in the abscission zone where it induces expression of cell wall hydrolases that execute the abscission process. Our results provide insight into the molecular control of abscission as regulated by proteolytic processing to generate a small plant peptide hormone.

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Reichardt, Sven / Piepho, Hans-Peter / Stintzi, Annick / et al: Peptide signaling for drought-induced tomato flower drop. 2020.

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