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Major quantitative trait locus qLA3.1 is related to tomato leaf angle by regulating cell length at the petiole base

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qLA3.1, controlling leaf angle in tomato, was fine-mapped to an interval of 4.45 kb on chromosome A03, and one gene encoding auxin response factor was identified as a candidate gene.


Leaf angle is a crucial trait in plant architecture that plays an important role in achieving optimal plant structure. However, there are limited reports on gene localization, cloning, and the function of plant architecture in horticultural crops, particularly regarding leaf angle. In this study, we selected ‘Z3’ with erect leaves and ‘Heinz1706’ with horizontal leaves as the phenotype and cytological observation. We combined bulked segregant analysis and fine genetic mapping to identify a candidate gene, known as, i.e., qLA3.1, which was related to tomato leaf angle. Through multiple analyses, we found that Solyc03g113410 was the most probably candidate for qLA3.1, which encoded the auxin response factor SlARF11 in tomato and was homologous to OsARF11 related to leaf angle in rice. We discovered that silencing SlARF11 resulted in upright leaves, while plants with over-expressed SlARF11 exhibited horizontal leaves. We also found that cultivars with erect leaves had a mutation from base G to base A. Moreover, quantitative analysis of plants treated with hormones indicated that SlARF11 might participate in cell elongation and the activation of genes related to auxin and brassinosteroid pathways. Transcriptome analysis further validated that SlARF11 may regulate leaf angle through hormone signaling pathways. These data support the idea that the auxin response factor SlARF11 may have an important function in tomato leaf petiole angles.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).


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We would like to express our gratitude to Professor Shi Kai (Zhejiang University) for providing the transient overexpression vector (pAC402-GFP).


This research was supported by Science and Technology Program of Liaoning province (2022020768-JH1/102-02).

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Authors and Affiliations



JJ and XL conceived the project idea. QHW conducted the experiments and data analyses, and wrote the manuscript. XW, QQZ, and XSZ performed the phenotypic characterization and genetic analysis. JJ supervised all phases of the research and writing. All authors contributed to and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Xin Liu or Jing Jiang.

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Communicated by Richard G.F. Visser.

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Wang, Q., Wang, X., Zhang, Q. et al. Major quantitative trait locus qLA3.1 is related to tomato leaf angle by regulating cell length at the petiole base. Theor Appl Genet 137, 145 (2024).

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