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Article|08 Nov 2023|OPEN
Physiological and molecular bases of the boron deficiency response in tomatoes
Junjun Li1 , Huihui Fan1 , Qianqian Song1 , Lili Jing1 , Hao Yu1 , Ruishan Li1 , Ping Zhang1 , Fei Liu1 , Weimin Li1 , Liangliang Sun1 and Jin Xu,1 ,
1Shanxi Key Laboratory of Germplasm Resources Innovation and Utilization of Vegetable and Flower, College of Horticulture, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 11,
Article number: uhad229 (2024)
Views: 39

Revised: 28 Jul 2023
Accepted: 29 Oct 2023
Published online: 08 Nov 2023


Boron is an essential microelement for plant growth. Tomato is one of the most cultivated fruits and vegetables in the world, and boron deficiency severely inhibits its yield and quality. However, the mechanism of tomato in response to boron deficiency remains largely unclear. Here, we investigated the physiological and molecular bases of the boron deficiency response in hydroponically grown tomato seedlings. Boron deficiency repressed the expression of genes associated with nitrogen metabolism, while it induced the expression of genes related to the pentose phosphate pathway, thereby altering carbon flow to provide energy for plants to cope with stress. Boron deficiency increased the accumulation of copper, manganese and iron, thereby maintaining chlorophyll content and photosynthetic efficiency at the early stage of stress. In addition, boron deficiency downregulated the expression of genes involved in cell wall organization and reduced the contents of pectin and cellulose in roots, ultimately retarding root growth. Furthermore, boron deficiency markedly altered phytohormone levels and signaling pathways in roots. The contents of jasmonic acid, jasmonoy1-L-isoleucine, trans-zeatin riboside, abscisic acid, salicylic acid, and SA glucoside were decreased; in contrast, the contents of isopentenyladenine riboside and ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid were increased in the roots of boron-deficient tomato plants. These results collectively indicate that tomato roots reprogram carbon/nitrogen metabolism, alter cell wall components and modulate phytohormone pathways to survive boron deficiency. This study provides a theoretical basis for further elucidating the adaptive mechanism of tomato in response to boron deficiency.