Tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. OH 7814) were transformed via Agrobacterium tumefaciens with a chimeric tobacco anionic peroxidase (EC 220.127.116.11) gene joined to the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. Transgenic plants obtained by selection on kanamycin were found to have more than five times the total leaf peroxidase activity of control plants. Transformed tomato plants chronically wilted upon reaching sexual maturity. Two independently selected transformants were self-fertilized, and progeny were obtained that were homozygous for the foreign gene. Isoelectric focusing gels stained for peroxidase activity revealed a new tomato leaf peroxidase isoenzyme with a pI of 3.75, which is similar to that seen in Nicotiana sylvestris L. Mature tomato fruit were found to have up to 1600-fold higher peroxidase activity in transformants expressing the tobacco anionic peroxidase (TobAnPOD) than control plants. Tissue blots showed the tobacco enzyme evenly distributed throughout the tomato fruit tissue. Progeny plants possessing the tobacco peroxidase gene (now homozygous) showed stunting, and fruit size was reduced by >80%. However, fruit set was normal and the rate of ripening was not altered from control plants. Fruit from transformed plants were found to have normal pigmentation, but the soluble solids concentration was 400% higher than in control tomato fruit. This result was predicted from the peroxidase-induced water stress. Possible roles for the tobacco anionic peroxidase in growth, development, and stress resistance are discussed.
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