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Article|29 Dec 2022|OPEN
SlMYB72 affects pollen development by regulating autophagy in tomato 
Mengbo Wu1,2 ,† , Qiongdan Zhang1,2 ,† , Guanle Wu1,2 , Lu Zhang3 , Xin Xu1,2 , Xiaowei Hu1,2 , Zehao Gong1,2 , Yulin Chen1,2 , Zhengguo Li1,2 , Honghai Li1,2 , , Wei Deng,1,2 ,
1Key Laboratory of Plant Hormones and Development Regulation of Chongqing, School of Life Sciences, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
2Center of Plant Functional Genomics, Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Chongqing University, 401331 Chongqing, China
3Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac286 (2023)
Views: 232

Received: 19 Feb 2022
Accepted: 15 Dec 2022
Published online: 29 Dec 2022


The formation and development of pollen are among the most critical processes for reproduction and genetic diversity in the life cycle of flowering plants. The present study found that SlMYB72 was highly expressed in the pollen and tapetum of tomato flowers. Downregulation of SlMYB72 led to a decrease in the amounts of seeds due to abnormal pollen development compared with wild-type plants. Downregulation of SlMYB72 delayed tapetum degradation and inhibited autophagy in tomato anther. Overexpression of SlMYB72 led to abnormal pollen development and delayed tapetum degradation. Expression levels of some autophagy-related genes (ATGs) were decreased in SlMYB72 downregulated plants and increased in overexpression plants. SlMYB72 was directly bound to ACCAAC/ACCAAA motif of the SlATG7 promoter and activated its expression. Downregulation of SlATG7 inhibited the autophagy process and tapetum degradation, resulting in abnormal pollen development in tomatoes. These results indicated SlMYB72 affects the tapetum degradation and pollen development by transcriptional activation of SlATG7 and autophagy in tomato anther. The study expands the understanding of the regulation of autophagy by SlMYB72, uncovers the critical role that autophagy plays in pollen development, and provides potential candidate genes for the production of male-sterility in plants.