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Rewiring metabolism to make fruit

The biochemical networks involved in and regulating fruit set — the process by which plant ovaries develop into fruits — have been identified in tomato. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to improved control of fruit survival during early development.

A team led by researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan used a multi-omics approach to study fruit setting in tomato. They also used kinetic analysis to understand carbon fluxes during early fruit set.

The researchers found synchronized changes in genes and proteins involved in carbon metabolism, identified a transcription factor that acts as a central hub in these networks, and showed that fructokinase plays an important role in the early stages. The kinetic analysis uncovered changes in the flux and subcellular localization of sugars.

Together, these changes enable the production of biomass and energy for rapid growth during early fruit set.

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