Chromoplast-specific carotenoid-associated protein appears to be important for enhanced accumulation of carotenoids in hp1 tomato fruits

Himabindu Vasuki Kilambi, Rakesh Kumar, Rameshwar Sharma, Yellamaraju Sreelakshmi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) high-pigment mutants with lesions in diverse loci such as DNA Damage-Binding Protein1 (high pigment1 [hp1]), Deetiolated1 (hp2), Zeaxanthin Epoxidase (hp3), and Intense pigment (Ip; gene product unknown) exhibit increased accumulation of fruit carotenoids coupled with an increase in chloroplast number and size. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms exaggerating the carotenoid accumulation and the chloroplast number in these mutants. A comparison of proteome profiles from the outer pericarp of hp1 mutant and wild-type (cv Ailsa Craig) fruits at different developmental stages revealed at least 72 differentially expressed proteins during ripening. Hierarchical clustering grouped these proteins into three clusters. We found an increased abundance of chromoplast-specific carotenoid-associated protein (CHRC) in hp1 fruits at red-ripe stage that is also reflected in its transcript level. Western blotting using CHRC polyclonal antibody from bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) revealed a 2-fold increase in the abundance of CHRC protein in the red-ripe stage of hp1 fruits compared with the wild type. CHRC levels in hp2 were found to be similar to that of hp1, whereas hp3 and Ip showed intermediate levels to those in hp1, hp2, and wild-type fruits. Both CHRC and carotenoids were present in the isolated plastoglobules. Overall, our results suggest that loss of function of DDB1, DET1, Zeaxanthin Epoxidase, and Ip up-regulates CHRC levels. Increase in CHRC levels may contribute to the enhanced carotenoid content in these high-pigment fruits by assisting in the sequestration and stabilization of carotenoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2101
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


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