Tetratricopeptide Repeat protein SlREC2 Positively Regulates Cold Tolerance in Tomato
Published:27 Feb.2023    Source:Plant Physiology
Cold stress is a key environmental constraint that dramatically affects the growth, productivity, and quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); however, the underlying molecular mechanisms of cold tolerance remain poorly understood. In this study, we identified REDUCED CHLOROPLAST COVERAGE 2 (SlREC2) encoding a tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) protein that positively regulates tomato cold tolerance. Disruption of SlREC2 largely reduced abscisic acid (ABA) levels, photoprotection and the expression of C-REPEAT BINDING FACTOR (CBF) pathway genes in tomato plants under cold stress. ABA deficiency in the notabilis (not) mutant, which carries a mutation in 9-CIS-EPOXYCAROTENOID DIOXYGENASE 1 (SlNCED1), strongly inhibited the cold tolerance of SlREC2-silenced plants and empty vector control plants and resulted in a similar phenotype. In addition, foliar application of ABA rescued the cold tolerance of SlREC2-silenced plants, which confirms that SlNCED1-mediated ABA accumulation is required for SlREC2-regulated cold tolerance.

Strikingly, SlREC2 physically interacted with β-RING CAROTENE HYDROXYLASE 1b (SlBCH1b), a key regulatory enzyme in the xanthophyll cycle. Disruption of SlBCH1b severely impaired photoprotection, ABA accumulation and CBF-pathway gene expression in tomato plants under cold stress. Taken together, this study reveals that SlREC2 interacts with SlBCH1b to enhance cold tolerance in tomato via integration of SlNCED1-mediated ABA accumulation, photoprotection, and the CBF-pathway, thus providing further genetic knowledge for breeding cold-resistant tomato varieties.