Analysis of wild tomato introgression lines elucidates the genetic basis of transcriptome and metabolome variation underlying fruit traits and pathogen response

Szymański, Jędrzej; Bocobza, S.E.; Panda, Sayantan; Sonawane, Prashant; Cárdenas, Pablo D.; Lashbrooke, Justin; Kamble, Avinash; Shahaf, Nir; Meir, Sagit; Bovy, A.G.; Beekwilder, M.J.; Tikunov, Y.M.; Romero de la Fuente, Irene; Zamir, Dani; Rogachev, Ilana; Aharoni, Asaph


Wild tomato species represent a rich gene pool for numerous desirable traits lost during domestication. Here, we exploited an introgression population representing wild desert-adapted species and a domesticated cultivar to establish the genetic basis of gene expression and chemical variation accompanying the transfer of wild-species-associated fruit traits. Transcriptome and metabolome analysis of 580 lines coupled to pathogen sensitivity assays resulted in the identification of genomic loci associated with levels of hundreds of transcripts and metabolites. These associations occurred in hotspots representing coordinated perturbation of metabolic pathways and ripening-related processes. Here, we identify components of the Solanum alkaloid pathway, as well as genes and metabolites involved in pathogen defense and linking fungal resistance with changes in the fruit ripening regulatory network. Our results outline a framework for understanding metabolism and pathogen resistance during tomato fruit ripening and provide insights into key fruit quality traits.