Dr. Yellamaraju Sreelakshmi is an Associate Professor at the Repository of Tomato Genomics Resources, Department of Plant Sciences located at University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.
Research: The primary research interest of her group is to understand the molecular basis of tomato fruit quality and shelf life with special interest on photoregulation of tomato fruit ripening. To achieve this, her research group uses functional genomics approaches to identify candidate genes followed by isolation of novel alleles in candidate genes with potential roles in carotenoid, folate sequestration and fruit shelf life.
Functional genomics approaches towards boosting carotenoid levels in tomato fruits
Tomato is a unique fruit, which is extensively used in our daily diet in both cooked and raw form. It is also an excellent source for micronutrients and considered as a valuable source for cardio-protective and cancer-preventive diets. My laboratory is interested in identifying the candidate genes/proteins that regulate the carotenoid, folate contents and shelf life of tomato fruits using functional genomics and proteomics approaches. Using proteomic approach in a high pigment mutant of tomato, we identified a candidate protein that may help in the sequestration of carotenoids contributing to high carotenoid levels. We employed systems approaches in wild relatives of tomato by incorporating information from genetic variation, transcript, protein, and metabolite levels to decipher the molecular basis for the diversity in carotenogenesis. We also isolated novel alleles in candidate genes using TILLING and EcoTILLING and are currently characterizing them in great detail to understand their contribution towards increasing tomato fruit quality and shelf life. I shall discuss the data we have obtained on tomato nutritional quality, especially the carotenoid content using the available tomato mutants, wild relatives and the mutants identified using reverse genetics approaches.
Key words: Tomato functional genomics, carotenoid content, shelf life, mutants, and wild relatives.