Abscisic acid (ABA) plays a vital role in coordinating physiological processes during fresh fruit ripening. ABA can bind to ABA receptors which interacts and inhibits their co-receptors type 2C phosphatases (PP2Cs). However, the dissected mechanism of PP2C during fruit ripening is unclear. In this study, we identify the role of SlPP2C3, a tomato type 2C phosphatase, as a negative regulator of ABA signaling and fruit ripening. SlPP2C3 selectively interacted with monomeric ABA receptors and SlSnRK2.8 kinase in both yeast and tobacco epidermal cells. Expressions of SlPP2C3 were observed in all tissues, and it negatively correlated with the fruit ripening which was induced by exogenous ABA. Tomato plants with suppressed SlPP2C3 expression exhibited enhanced sensitivity to ABA, while SlPP2C3 over-expressed plants were less sensitive to ABA. Meaningfully, lack of SlPP2C3 expression causes the acceleration of fruit ripening onset via the alternation of ABA signaling activity, and the fruit gloss is affected by the changes of outer epidermis structure. RNA-seq analysis found significant different expression of cuticle-related genes in pericarp between wild-type and SlPP2C3 suppressed lines. Taken together, our finding demonstrate that SlPP2C3 plays an important role in the regulation of fruit ripening and fruit appearance quality in tomato.
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