Received: 10 May 2020 Revised: 21 Jul 2020 Accepted: 27 Jul 2020 Published online: 01 Nov 2020
Helical growth is an economical way for plant to obtain resources. The classic microtubule–microfibril alignment model of Arabidopsis helical growth involves restriction of the appropriate orientation of cellulose microfibrils appropriately in the cell walls. However, the molecular mechanism underlying tomato helical growth remains unknown. Here, we identified a spontaneous tomato helical (hel) mutant with right-handed helical cotyledons and petals but left-handed helical stems and true leaves. Genetic analysis revealed that the hel phenotype was controlled by a single recessive gene. Using map-based cloning, we cloned the HEL gene, which encodes a cellulose interacting protein homologous to CSI1 of Arabidopsis. We identified a 27 bp fragment replacement that generated a premature stop codon. Transgenic experiments showed that the helical growth phenotype could be restored by the allele of this gene from wild-type Pyriforme. In contrast, the knockout mutation of HEL in Pyriforme via CRISPR/Cas9 resulted in helical growth. These findings shed light on the molecular control of the helical growth of tomato.