Re-evaluation of the rin mutation and the role of RIN in the induction of tomato ripening

  • Nature Plantsvolume 3pages866874 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/s41477-017-0041-5
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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) rin mutants completely fail to ripen: they do not produce red pigmentation, soften or induce an ethylene burst. Therefore, RIN has long been believed to function as a major regulator that is essential for the induction of ripening. Here, we provide evidence contradicting this concept of RIN function, showing induction of fruit ripening in the absence of RIN. A CRISPR/Cas9-mediated RIN-knockout mutation did not repress initiation of ripening and the mutant fruits showed moderate red colouring. Moreover, inactivation of the rin mutant allele partially restored the induction of ripening. Therefore, RIN is not required for the initiation of ripening and rin is not a null mutation, but rather is a gain-of-function mutation that produces a protein that actively represses ripening. Since the discovery of the rin mutant a half-century ago, many models have depicted RIN as indispensable for the induction of ripening; these models should be reconsidered in light of these results.

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The authors thank A. Koma for technical assistance. This work was supported by the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) and the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry.

Author information


  1. Food Research Institute, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), 2-1-12 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8642, Japan

    • Yasuhiro Ito
    • , Yoko Shima
    • , Nobutaka Nakamura
    • , Eiichi Kotake-Nara
    •  & Susumu Kawasaki
  2. Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO, 2-1-2 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8602, Japan

    • Ayako Nishizawa-Yokoi
    • , Masaki Endo
    • , Masafumi Mikami
    •  & Seiichi Toki
  3. Graduate School of Nanobioscience, Yokohama City University, 22-2 Seto, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 236-0027, Japan

    • Masafumi Mikami
    •  & Seiichi Toki
  4. Kihara Institute for Biological Research, Yokohama City University, 641-12 Maioka-cho, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 244-0813, Japan

    • Seiichi Toki


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Y.I. conceived the idea for the study. Y.I. and S.T. designed the experiments. Y.I., A.N.-Y. and Y.S. produced mutants. Y.I., M.E. and M.M. constructed plasmids. Y.I., N.N. and E.K.-N. did the experiments for mutant characterization. Y.I. and S.K. did assays of protein activities. Y.I. did expression analyses and ChIP assays. Y.I. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yasuhiro Ito.

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