The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 64: 133 - 140 (2020)

Vol 64, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in India - First Part

Molecular signals that govern tuber development in potato

Published: 23 June 2020

Kirtikumar R. Kondhare, Bhavani Natarajan and Anjan K. Banerjee*

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Biology Division, Pune, India


The potato serves as the fourth most important food crop on the planet after the three cereal crops. It is rich in starch, storage proteins and important vitamins, dietary antioxidants and minerals. Potato is a modified stem (stolon) that grows underground, at the base of the plant, under favourable conditions. Perception and processing of signals occur in leaves and the corresponding information is transported to the stolon-tip. The elongation of the stolon-tip ceases and the plane of cell division changes from transverse to longitudinal, causing swelling of the sub-apical region of the stolon. This is accompanied by synthesis of starch in leaves, followed by its transport to and accumulation in the stolon. The initiation of tuber developmental signals and the subsequent stolon-to-tuber transition (tuberization) is undoubtedly a dynamic process which involves integration of multiple molecular factors, environmental cues and crosstalk between various pathways, including phytohormones. Understanding the tuberization process has been an aim of many plant biologists across the globe. Recent discoveries have shown that apart from photoperiod and hormonal metabolism, there are crucial transcription factors, small RNAs, full-length mobile mRNAs and proteins that regulate tuberization in potato. Although we have gained significant knowledge about the tuberization process, many questions on the underlying mechanisms of tuber development remain to be answered. In this review, we summarize the crucial molecular signals that govern tuber formation and propose an updated tuberization network along with future research directions.


small RNA, StBEL5, StSP6A, POTH1, mobile RNA

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