Function of Cyclophilin1 as a long-distance signal molecule in the phloem of tomato plants

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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)diageotropica(dgt) mutants, containing a single mutation in theCyclophilin1(SlCyp1) gene, are auxin-insensitive, exhibiting a pleiotropic phenotype including lack of geotropism, abnormal xylem structure, lack of lateral roots (LRs), and elevated shoot-to-root ratio. SlCyp1 is a putative peptidyl-prolyl isomerase that can traffic from shoot to root, where it induces changes in auxin response, LR formation, and xylem development, suggesting it has a role as a long-distance signaling molecule. Here, we explored the mechanism underlying SlCyp1 function in the phloem. Expression ofSlCyp1under a phloem-specific (AtSuc2) promoter indgtplants partially restored the wild-type phenotype, including lateral root development, root branching, and xylem morphology. The observed developmental changes were associated with physiological alternations at the whole-plant level, including a reduction in shoot-to-root ratio, enhanced transpiration, and elevated photosynthetic rates. Conversely, phloem-specific expression ofSlCyp1active-site mutants did not restore the wild-type phenotype. Local inhibition of cyclophilin functioning in the target tissue reduced auxin sensitivity, suggesting that its enzymatic activity in the distant organ is required for its action as a long-distance signalling agent. The data presented suggest that SlCyp1 is a signal molecule trafficking from shoot to root where its activity is required for auxin-mediated lateral root development.

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