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Article|15 Nov 2022|OPEN
Promoter replacement of ANT1 induces anthocyanin accumulation and triggers the shade avoidance response through developmental, physiological and metabolic reprogramming in tomato
João Victor Abreu Cerqueira1 ,† , Feng Zhu2,3 ,† , Karoline Mendes1 , Adriano Nunes-Nesi1 , Samuel Cordeiro Vitor Martins1 , Vagner Benedito4 and Alisdair R. Fernie3 , Agustin Zsögön,1 ,
1Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa 36570-900 MG, Brazil
2National R&D Center for Citrus Preservation, Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology, Ministry of Education, Huazhong Agricultural University, 430070 Wuhan, China
3Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
4Division of Plant & Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac254 (2023)
Views: 307

Received: 04 Aug 2022
Accepted: 07 Nov 2022
Published online: 15 Nov 2022


The accumulation of anthocyanins is a well-known response to abiotic stresses in many plant species. However, the effects of anthocyanin accumulation on light absorbance and photosynthesis are unknown . Here, we addressed this question using a promoter replacement line of tomato constitutively expressing a MYB transcription factor (ANTHOCYANIN1, ANT1) that leads to anthocyanin accumulation. ANT1-overexpressing plants displayed traits associated with shade avoidance response: thinner leaves, lower seed germination rate, suppressed side branching, increased chlorophyll concentration, and lower photosynthesis rates than the wild type. Anthocyanin-rich leaves exhibited higher absorbance of light in the blue and red ends of the spectrum, while higher anthocyanin content in leaves provided photoprotection to high irradiance. Analyses of gene expression and primary metabolites content showed that anthocyanin accumulation produces a reconfiguration of transcriptional and metabolic networks that is consistent with, but not identical to those described for the shade avoidance response. Our results provide novel insights about how anthocyanins accumulation affects the trade-off between photoprotection and growth.