Beyond photosynthesis, light plays a crucial role in the plant development controlling many of its aspects such as circadian cycle, metabolic processes etc. The perception of light signal by photoreceptors triggers a complex signaling network in which phytochrome interaction factors (PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORS, PIFs) play a central role. These proteins are transcription factors that accumulate in the dark and negatively regulate the light response. As well as light, PIF proteins participate controlling physiological processes during plant lifetime and play an important role in the regulation of biogenesis and maintenance of chloroplasts activity, from deetiolation to senescence. Once the plastidial activity is strongly related to the productivity and nutritional quality of fruits, not only for its role in the photosynthesis, but also because important nutraceutic composts are produced there. Thus, this project aims to explore the effects of PIF genes manipulation on fleshy fruits metabolism. In particular, a phenotypic characterization of Solanum lycopersicum transgenic lines silenced for SlPIF3 gene is proposed. The plant productivity, fruit quality and the amount of nutraceutical compounds, for which tomatoes are an important source (carotenoids and tocopherols), will be analyzed. The results obtained will improve our knowledge regarding PIF's function and how its manipulation can affect fruit quality and development in tomato, contributing with new insights to the metabolic engineering of edible fruits.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: