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Suppression of ripening-associated gene expression in tomato fruits subjected to a high CO2 concentration
- Rothan, C., Duret, S., Chevalier, C., Raymond, P.
- Plant physiology 1997 v.114 no.1 pp. 255-263
- Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, ripening, gene expression, dose response, acidification, ethylene, biosynthesis, carbon dioxide
- High concentrations of CO2 block or delay the ripening of fruits. In this study we investigated the effects of high CO2 on ripening and on the expression of stress- and ripening-inducible genes in cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit. Mature-greentomato fruits were submitted to a high CO2 concentration (20%) for 3 d and then transferred to air. These conditions effectively inhibited ripening-associated color changes and ethylene production, and reduced the protein content. No clear-cut effect was observed on the expression of two proteolysis-related genes, encoding polyubiquitin and ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2, respectively. Exposure of fruit to high CO2 also resulted in the strong induction of two genes encoding stress-related proteins: a ripening-regulated heat-shock protein and glutamate decarboxylase. Induction of these two genes indicated that high CO2 had a stress effect, most likely through cytosolic acidification. In addition, high CO2 blocked the accumulation of mRNAs for genes involved in the main ripening-related changes: ethylene synthesis (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase), color (phytoene synthase), firmness (polygalacturonase), and sugar accumulation (acid invertase). The expression of ripening-specific genes was affected by CO2 regardless of whether their induction was ethylene- or development-dependent. It is proposed that the inhibition of tomato fruit ripening by high CO2 is due, in part, to the suppression of the expression of ripening-associated genes, which is probably related to the stress effect exerted by high CO2.