Bi-functional transcription factors SlERF.H5 and H7 activate cell wall and repress gibberellin biosynthesis genes in tomato via a conserved motif

Published: 5 March 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/jvx8w77yfn.1
Yangang Pei, Mingchun Liu


The plant cell wall is a dynamic structure that plays an essential role in development, but the mechanism regulating cell wall formation remains poorly understood. We demonstrate that two transcription factors SlERF.H5 and SlERF.H7 control cell wall formation and tomato fruit firmness in an additive manner. Knockout of SlERF.H5, SlERF.H7, or both genes decreased cell wall thickness, firmness, and cellulose contents in fruits during early development, especially in double knockout lines. Overexpressing either gene resulted in thicker cell walls and greater fruit firmness with elevated cellulose levels in fruits but severely dwarf plants with lower gibberellin contents. We further identified that SlERF.H5 and SlERF.H7 activate the cellulose biosynthesis gene SlCESA3 but repress the gibberellin biosynthesis gene GA20ox1. Moreover, we identified a conserved LPL motif in these ERFs responsible for their activities as transcriptional activators and repressors, providing insight into how bifunctional transcription factors modulate distinct developmental processes.



Plant Cell, Fruit Development