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Exploiting tomato genotypes to understand heat stress tolerance

Increased temperatures caused by climate change constitute a significant threat to agriculture and food security. The selection of improved crop varieties with greater tolerance to heat stress is crucial for the future of agriculture. To overcome this challenge, four traditional tomato varieties from the Mediterranean basin and two commercial genotypes were selected to characterize their responses at high temperatures.

The screening of phenotypes under heat shock conditions allowed the classification of the tomato genotypes as heat-sensitive: TH-30, ADX2; intermediate: ISR-10 and Ailsa Craig; heat-tolerant: MM and MO-10. These results reveal the intra-genetical variation of heat stress responses, which can be exploited as promising sources of tolerance to climate change conditions. Two different thermotolerance strategies were observed. The MO-10 plant tolerance was based on the control of the leaf cooling mechanism and the rapid RBOHB activation and ABA signaling pathways.

The variety MM displayed a different strategy based on the activation of HSP70 and 90, as well as the accumulation of phenolic compounds correlated with early induction of PAL expression. The importance of secondary metabolism in the recovery phase has also been revealed. Understanding the molecular events allowing plants to overcome heat stress constitutes a promising approach for selecting climate-resilient tomato varieties.

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Crespo, Emma & Liu-Xu, Luisa & Albert-Sidro, Carlos & Scalschi, Loredana & Llorens, Eugenio & González-Hernández, Ana I. & Crespo, Oscar & Gonzalez-Bosch, Carmen & Camañes, Gemma & García-Agustín, Pilar & Vicedo, Begonya. (2022). Exploiting Tomato Genotypes to Understand Heat Stress Tolerance. Plants. 11. 3170. 10.3390/plants11223170. 

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