Exploring the sound-modulated delay in tomato ripening through expression analysis of coding and non-coding RNAs

Ann Bot. 2018 Dec 31;122(7):1231-1244. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy134.


Background and aims: Sound is omnipresent in nature. Recent evidence supports the notion that naturally occurring and artificially generated sound waves induce inter- and intracellular changes in plants. These changes, in turn, lead to diverse physiological changes, such as enhanced biotic and abiotic stress responses, in both crops and model plants.

Methods: We previously observed delayed ripening in tomato fruits exposed to 1 kHz sound vibrations for 6 h. Here, we evaluated the molecular mechanism underlying this delaying fruit ripening by performing RNA-sequencing analysis of tomato fruits at 6 h, 2 d, 5 d and 7 d after 1 kHz sound vibration treatment.

Key results: Bioinformatic analysis of differentially expressed genes and non-coding small RNAs revealed that some of these genes are involved in plant hormone and cell wall modification processes. Ethylene and cytokinin biosynthesis and signalling-related genes were downregulated by sound vibration treatment, whereas genes involved in flavonoid, phenylpropanoid and glucan biosynthesis were upregulated. Furthermore, we identified two sound-specific microRNAs and validated the expression of the pre-microRNAs and the mRNAs of their target genes.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that sound vibration helps to delay fruit ripening through the sophisticated regulation of coding and non-coding RNAs and transcription factor genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Fruit / radiation effects*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics
  • Solanum lycopersicum / growth & development
  • Solanum lycopersicum / metabolism
  • Solanum lycopersicum / radiation effects*
  • Sound*
  • Time Factors
  • Vibration*


  • RNA, Plant
  • RNA, Untranslated