, Volume 249, Issue 5, pp 1391–1403 | Cite as

Brassinosteroids facilitate xylem differentiation and wood formation in tomato

  • Jinsu Lee
  • Seahee Han
  • Hwa-Yong Lee
  • Bomi Jeong
  • Tae-Young Heo
  • Tae Kyung Hyun
  • Kyunghwan Kim
  • Byoung Il Je
  • Horim Lee
  • Donghwan Shim
  • Soon Ju Park
  • Hojin RyuEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

BR signaling pathways facilitate xylem differentiation and wood formation by fine tuning SlBZR1/SlBZR2-mediated gene expression networks involved in plant secondary growth.

Brassinosteroid (BR) signaling and BR crosstalk with diverse signaling cues are involved in the pleiotropic regulation of plant growth and development. Recent studies reported the critical roles of BR biosynthesis and signaling in vascular bundle development and plant secondary growth; however, the molecular bases of these roles are unclear. Here, we performed comparative physiological and anatomical analyses of shoot morphological growth in a cultivated wild-type tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. BGA) and a BR biosynthetic mutant [Micro Tom (MT)]. We observed that the canonical BR signaling pathway was essential for xylem differentiation and sequential wood formation by facilitating plant secondary growth. The gradual retardation of xylem development phenotypes during shoot vegetative growth in the BR-deficient MT tomato mutant recovered completely in response to exogenous BR treatment or genetic complementation of the BR biosynthetic DWARF (D) gene. By contrast, overexpression of the tomato Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (SlGSK3) or CRISPR-Cas9 (CR)-mediated knockout of the tomato Brassinosteroid-insensitive 1 (SlBRI1) impaired BR signaling and resulted in severely defective xylem differentiation and secondary growth. Genetic modulation of the transcriptional activity of the tomato Brassinazole-resistant 1/2 (SlBZR1/SlBZR2) confirmed the positive roles of BR signaling pathways for xylem differentiation and secondary growth. Our data indicate that BR signaling pathways directly promote xylem differentiation and wood formation by canonical BR-activated SlBZR1/SlBZR2.





Micro Tom


Brassinazole-resistant 1/2


Brassinosteroid-insensitive 2


Glycogen synthase kinase 3


BRI1-EMS-suppressor 1


Secondary cell wall





This work was carried out with the support of the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (2015R1A4A1041869), Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (no. PJ01313601), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea. SJP was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation (2017R1A4A1015594) funded by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 308710 kb)
425_2019_3094_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 11 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinsu Lee
    • 1
  • Seahee Han
    • 2
  • Hwa-Yong Lee
    • 1
  • Bomi Jeong
    • 3
  • Tae-Young Heo
    • 3
  • Tae Kyung Hyun
    • 4
  • Kyunghwan Kim
    • 1
  • Byoung Il Je
    • 5
  • Horim Lee
    • 6
  • Donghwan Shim
    • 7
  • Soon Ju Park
    • 8
  • Hojin Ryu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.National Agrobiodiversity Center, National Academy of Agricultural Science RDAJeonjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Information and StatisticsChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Industrial Plant Science and TechnologyChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Horticultural Bioscience, College of Natural Resource and Life SciencePusan National UniversityMiryangRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.Department of BiotechnologyDuksung Women’s UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  7. 7.Department of Forest Bio-ResourcesNational Institute of Forest ScienceSuwonRepublic of Korea
  8. 8.Division of Biological Sciences, Research Institute for Basic ScienceWonkwang UniversityIksanRepublic of Korea

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