Applications of cytokinins in horticultural fruit crops : trends and future prospects

Aremu, Adeyemi O. ; Fawole, Olaniyi A. ; Makunga, Nokwanda P. ; Masondo, Nqobile A. ; Moyo, Mack ; Buthelezi, Nana M. D. ; Amoo, Stephen O. ; Spíchal, Lukáš ; Doležal, Karel (2020-08-22)

CITATION: Aremu, Adeyemi O. et al. 2020. Applications of cytokinins in horticultural fruit crops : trends and future prospects. Biomolecules, 10(9):1222, doi:10.3390/biom10091222.

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Cytokinins (CKs) are a chemically diverse class of plant growth regulators, exhibiting wide-ranging actions on plant growth and development, hence their exploitation in agriculture for crop improvement and management. Their coordinated regulatory effects and cross-talk interactions with other phytohormones and signaling networks are highly sophisticated, eliciting and controlling varied biological processes at the cellular to organismal levels. In this review, we briefly introduce the mode of action and general molecular biological effects of naturally occurring CKs before highlighting the great variability in the response of fruit crops to CK-based innovations. We present a comprehensive compilation of research linked to the application of CKs in non-model crop species in different phases of fruit production and management. By doing so, it is clear that the effects of CKs on fruit set, development, maturation, and ripening are not necessarily generic, even for cultivars within the same species, illustrating the magnitude of yet unknown intricate biochemical and genetic mechanisms regulating these processes in different fruit crops. Current approaches using genomic-to-metabolomic analysis are providing new insights into the in planta mechanisms of CKs, pinpointing the underlying CK-derived actions that may serve as potential targets for improving crop-specific traits and the development of new solutions for the preharvest and postharvest management of fruit crops. Where information is available, CK molecular biology is discussed in the context of its present and future implications in the applications of CKs to fruits of horticultural significance.

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