The GORKY glycoalkaloid transporter is indispensable for preventing tomato bitterness

Yana Kazachkova, Itay Zemach, Sayantan Panda, Samuel Bocobza, Andrii Vainer, Ilana Rogachev, Yonghui Dong, Shifra Ben-Dor, Dorottya Veres, Christa Kanstrup, Sophie Konstanze Lambertz, Christoph Crocoll, Yangjie Hu, Eilon Shani, Simon Michaeli, Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin, Dani Zamir, Asaph Aharoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fruit taste is determined by sugars, acids and in some species, bitter chemicals. Attraction of seed-dispersing organisms in nature and breeding for consumer preferences requires reduced fruit bitterness. A key metabolic shift during ripening prevents tomato fruit bitterness by eliminating α-tomatine, a renowned defence-associated Solanum alkaloid. Here, we combined fine mapping with information from 150 resequenced genomes and genotyping a 650-tomato core collection to identify nine bitter-tasting accessions including the 'high tomatine' Peruvian landraces reported in the literature. These 'bitter' accessions contain a deletion in GORKY, a nitrate/peptide family transporter mediating α-tomatine subcellular localization during fruit ripening. GORKY exports α-tomatine and its derivatives from the vacuole to the cytosol and this facilitates the conversion of the entire α-tomatine pool to non-bitter forms, rendering the fruit palatable. Hence, GORKY activity was a notable innovation in the process of tomato fruit domestication and breeding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-480
Number of pages13
JournalNature Plants
Issue number4
Early online date11 Mar 2021
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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