Plants coordinate the timing of flower opening with pollen and gynoecium maturation to achieve successful pollination. However, little is known about how the coordination is executed. We found that flower bud development was paused immediately before flower opening in a jasmonic acid (JA)-insensitive tomato mutant, jai1-1. Phytohormone measurement and RNA analysis in flower buds revealed that newly synthesised JA peaked at two days before flower opening and the expression of a transcription factor gene SlMYB21 delayed in jai1-1. Buds of transgenic tomato plants expressing an artificial repressor, AtMYB24-SRDX, which was expected to impede the function of SlMYB21, aborted flower opening and resembled those of jai1-1. Furthermore, the AtMYB24-SRDX plants produced abnormal pollen grains deficient in germination and pistils that did not support pollen tube elongation. We concluded that JA facilitates the expression of SlMYB21, which coordinates flower opening, pollen maturation, and gynoecium function in tomato.
Keywords: Flower opening; SlMYB21 transcription factor; Solanum lycoperisicum; jasmonic acid; male and female fertility.