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  • Author or Editor: Carl Greve x
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Discs from outer pericarp of mature green (MG) and light red (LR) tomatoes were incubated with 13C6-glucose as precursor to cell wall constituents, to determine biosynthetic capacity of the outer 2mm (including cuticle) and adjacent inner 2mm of tissue. Cell wall material was fractionated into pectic and hemicellulosic classes by sequential extraction, and alditol acetates and partially-methylated alditol acetates were prepared. Neutral sugars (NS), glycosidic linkage compositions and incorporation of label were determined by GC-FID and GC-MS. Rhamnose, arabinose and galactose accounted for ca. 90% of both labeled and total NS in the pectic fractions (sugar ratios within ripeness stage were the same for labeled and total NS). Xylose and glucose accounted for ca. 70% of both labeled and total NS in the hemicellulosic fraction (sugar ratios within ripeness stage were different between labeled and total NS). In the crude cell wall, galactose and glucose contents were significantly higher in the inner than in outer tissues for both MG and LR tomatoes. Loss of galactose during ripening was higher from outer tissues. These results show compositional differences between inner and outer tissues, and suggest that ripening-related wall synthesis may give rise to pectic polymers similar in NS composition to existing polysaccharides, and hemicellulosic polymers which may differ in composition.

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Acid hydrolysis-generated pectic oligomers have been shown to affect ripening of tomato fruit by inducing both acceleration of reddening and increased ethylene biosynthesis (Campbell & Labavitch, 1991 Plant Physiol 97:706-713). In the present work, homogeneous size classes of these oligomers were demonstrated to have different impacts on ethylene production of tomato fruit pericarp discs. Endogenous oligomeric material of the same size classes was isolated from ripening tomato tissues and also tested for biological activity. They promoted some aspects of ripening as shown by increased ACC and ethylene production, which suggests that pectic oligomers are potential regulators of the ripening process in tomatoes. A metabolic origin for these oligomers is suggested by the fact that they are produced by in vitro polygalacturonase I treatment of polygalacturonic acid or tomato pectin.

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A simple procedure for synthesizing and purifying the [14C]ethyl ester of IAA (Et-IAA) is described. This auxin has been found to stimulate parthenocarpic fruit set in day-neutral strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch. ‘Fern’), which are non-responsive to various other auxins. Et-IAA may prove useful in eliciting physiological responses in systems shown previously to be auxin-nonresponsive. Chemical name used: 1H-indole-3-acetic acid (IAA).

Open Access

Higher plant inhibitors of fungal polygalacturonases are potential contributors to plant defense. To test this hypothesis we have raised antibodies against the `Bartlett' pear fruit polygalacturonase inhibitor (PGIP) and cloned a pear fruit PGIP cDNA. The pear PGIP cDNA was isolated by polymerase chain reactions based on our amino acid and nucleotide sequence information. Sequence analysis predicts a gene product of 34.5 kD with an isoelectric point of 6.02 in agreement with our biochemical data. Seven potential glycosylation sites are consistent with the glycoprotein character of these PGIPs. Southern blot analysis suggests the presence of 1 or 2 genes in the pear genome. Northern blot analysis indicates the presence of a transcript of 1.5 kb. Western blot analysis shows cross-reactivity of the anti-pear PGIP antibody to various dicot species as well as corn.

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α-l-Arabinofuranosidases (α-Af) are plant enzymes that have the capacity to release terminal arabinofuranosyl residues from a wide variety of pectic and hemicellulosic polymers, as well as different glycoconjugates. Our interest in α-Af is related to its potential role in ripening-related loss of arabinose from tomato fruit cell walls. Using both control (cv. VF 36) and ACC synthase antisense (A11.1) tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), we demonstrate that tomato α-Af activity is present during the entire ontogeny of the fruit. Immature 10-day-old fruit displayed 6-fold more α-Af activity on a per gram fresh weight basis, than mature green fruit. In VF 36 fruit, α-Af activity increased 45% from mature green 4 (48 days post anthesis) to light red stages (55 days) when fruit ripened on the vine. In contrast, no similar increase was detected in ACC synthase antisense fruit that do not ripen in the same time frame. However, when A11.1 fruit were detached at 48 days after anthesis and treated continuously with 100 mL·L-1 ethylene the fruit ripened and α-Af increased, as in ripening normal fruit. The α-Af activity pattern is similar to that reported for tomato β-galactosidases. The increasing α-Af activity during ripening and the decreased activity in antisense ACC synthase fruit after reaching the mature green stage suggest a role for ethylene in the ripening-related synthesis or activation of this enzyme.

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