The vegetative to reproductive phase change involves a complex and coordinated series of genetically programmed biochemical and cellular processes. Recent studies have shown that this phase change may be a result of epigenetic changes. The level of histone acetylation in the N-terminal tails plays a central role controlling chromatin structure and eukaryotic gene activity, being determined by the antagonistic action of the enzymes histone acetyltransferase and histone deacetylase (HDA). Recently, a growing number of studies in Arabidopsis thaliana have demonstrated the involvement of HDA6 in the control of plant development, including flowering time and determination of floral identity. However, little is known regarding the roles of HDAs in other plant species. In this context, the present project aims to functionally characterize Solanum lycopersicum HDA3 (SlHAD3, a homolog of AtHDA6) during the transition from vegetative phase to reproductive phase. For this, in addition to micro-morphological measures to identify meristems at the apex, the transcriptome (RNA-seq) will be evaluated by accessing genes differentially expressed in tomato hda3 mutants. Such mutants were recently generated by our research group and showed a delay in phase changes. Based on the transcriptional profile, target genes will be selected for validation in quantitative PCR. In addition, proteins capable of acting on the deacetylation complex as well as the interaction of SlHDA3 protein with the DNA will be evaluated. The elucidation of the performance of SlHDA3 may contribute not only to a better understanding of the mechanisms associated with development, but may also have potential applications in tomato improvement.
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