Main content area

The tomato E8 gene influences ethylene biosynthesis in fruit but not in flowers

Kneissel, M.L., Deikman, J.
Plant physiology 1996 v.112 no.2 pp. 537-547
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, flowers, genes, ethylene production, genetic transformation, Cauliflower mosaic virus, gene expression, ripening, messenger RNA, transgenic plants
We investigated the function of the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) E8 gene. Previous experiments in which antisense suppression of E8 was used suggested that the E8 protein has a negative effect on ethylene evolution in fruit. E8 is expressed in flowers as well as in fruit, and its expression is high in anthers. We introduced a cauliflower mosaic virus 35S-E8 gene into tomato plants and obtained plants with overexpression of E8 and plants in which E8 expression was suppressed due to co-suppression. Overexpression of E8 in unripe fruit did not affect the level of ethylene evolution during fruit ripening; however, reduction of E8 protein by cosuppression did lead to elevated levels during ripening. Levels for ethylene, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), and ACC oxidase mRNA were increased approximately 7-fold in fruit of plants with reduced E8 protein. Levels of ACC synthase 2 mRNA were increased 2.5-fold, and ACC synthase 4 mRNA was not affected. Reduction of E8 protein in anthers did not affect the accumulation of ACC or of mRNAs encoding enzymes involved in ethylene biosynthesis. Our results suggest that the product of the E8 reaction participates in feedback regulation of ethylene biosynthesis during fruit ripening.