Tomato ripening is a complex and dynamic process coordinated by many regulatory elements, including plant hormones, transcription factors, and numerous ripening-related RNAs and proteins. Although recent studies have shown that some RNA-binding proteins are involved in the regulation of the ripening process, understanding of how RNA-binding proteins affect fruit ripening is still limited. Here, we report the analysis of a glycine-rich RNA-binding protein, RZ1A-Like (RZ1AL), which plays an important role in tomato ripening, especially fruit coloring. To analyze the functions of RZ1AL in fruit development and ripening, we generated knockout cr-rz1al mutant lines via the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. Knockout of RZ1AL reduced fruit lycopene content and weight in the cr-rz1al mutant plants. RZ1AL encodes a nucleus-localized protein that is associated with Cajal-related bodies. RNA-seq data demonstrated that the expression levels of genes that encode several key enzymes associated with carotenoid biosynthesis and metabolism were notably downregulated in cr-rz1al fruits. Proteomic analysis revealed that the levels of various ribosomal subunit proteins were reduced. This could affect the translation of ripening-related proteins such as ZDS. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that RZ1AL may participate in the regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis and metabolism and affect tomato development and fruit ripening.
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