High invertase activity in tomato reproductive organs correlates with enhanced sucrose import into, and heat tolerance of, young fruit Academic Article uri icon


  • Heat stress can cause severe crop yield losses by impairing reproductive development. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We examined patterns of carbon allocation and activities of sucrose cleavage enzymes in heat-tolerant (HT) and -sensitive (HS) tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) lines subjected to normal (control) and heat stress temperatures. At the control temperature of 25/20 °C (day/night) the HT line exhibited higher cell wall invertase (CWIN) activity in flowers and young fruits and partitioned more sucrose to fruits but less to vegetative tissues as compared to the HS line, independent of leaf photosynthetic capacity. Upon 2-, 4-, or 24-h exposure to day or night temperatures of 5 °C or more above 25/20 °C, cell wall (CWIN) and vacuolar invertases (VIN), but not sucrose synthase (SuSy), activities in young fruit of the HT line were significantly higher than those of the HS line. The HT line had a higher level of transcript of a CWIN gene, Lin7, in 5-day fruit than the HS line under control and heat stress temperatures. Interestingly, heat induced transcription of an invertase inhibitor gene, INVINH1, but reduced its protein abundance. Transcript levels of LePLDa1, encoding phospholipase D, which degrades cell membranes, was less in the HT line than in the HS line after exposure to heat stress. The data indicate that high invertase activity of, and increased sucrose import into, young tomato fruit could contribute to their heat tolerance through increasing sink strength and sugar signalling activities, possibly regulating a programmed cell death pathway.


  • Li, Zhimiao
  • Palmer, William M
  • Martin, Antony P
  • Wang, Rongqing
  • Rainsford, Frederick
  • Jin, Ye
  • Patrick, John W
  • Yang, Yuejian
  • Ruan, Yong-Ling

publication date

  • February 2012