The plant cuticle consists of aliphatic wax and cutin, and covers all the aerial tissues, conferring resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, we performed phenotypic characterizations of tomato mutants having both sticky peel (pe) and light green (lg) mutations. Our genetic analysis showed that these two mutations are tightly linked and behave like a monogenic recessive mutation. The double mutant (pe lg) produced glossy soft fruits with light green leaves, most likely due to defects in cuticle formation. Cytological analysis revealed that the thickness of the fruit cuticle layer was dramatically reduced in the pe lg mutant. The epidermal cells of the leaves were also deformed in the pe lg mutant, suggesting that leaf cuticle formation was also disrupted in the mutant. Consistent with this, transmission electron microscopic analysis showed that the electron density of the cuticle layer of the adaxial surface of the leaf was reduced in the pe lg mutant compared to WT, suggesting that there are changes in cuticle structure and/or composition in the pe lg mutant. Both physiological analysis to measure the rate of transpiration, and staining of the fruits and leaves with toluidine blue, revealed that water permeability was enhanced in the pe lg mutant, consistent with the reduced thickness of its cuticle layer. Taken together the preliminary analyses of the cuticle components, the PE LG is most likely involved in proper cuticle formation.
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