Sugar accumulation and the activities of sugar metabolizing enzymes were related to the occurrence of pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.] flesh translucency. During early fruit development, glucose and fructose were the predominant sugars. Sucrose began to accumulate 6 weeks before harvest at a higher rate in the fruitlet than in the interfruitlet tissue. Electrolyte leakage from pineapple flesh increased rapidly from 6 weeks before harvest and paralleled sucrose accumulation. Sucrose synthase activity was high in young fruit flesh and declined with fruit development, while the activity of sucrose phosphate synthase was relatively low and constant throughout fruit development. The activities of acid invertase, neutral invertase, and cell-wall invertase (CWI) were high in the young fruit flesh and declined to very low levels 6 weeks before harvest when sucrose started to accumulate. CWI activity increased again, more in the fruitlet than in the interfruitlet tissue, 4 weeks before harvest. Removal of 1/3 of the plant leaves 3 weeks before harvest significantly reduced fruit flesh total soluble solids, CWI activity, and translucency incidence at harvest. The activity of CWI in translucent fruit flesh was significantly higher than in opaque fruit flesh at harvest. CWI activities in the basal section of pineapple flesh and in the fruitlet, where translucency first occurred, were higher than those in the apical section and in the interfruitlet tissue, respectively. Results support the hypothesis that high CWI activity in pineapple flesh at the later stage of fruit development enhances sucrose unloading into the fruit flesh apoplast, leading to increased apoplastic solute concentration (decreased solute potential) and subsequent water movement into the apoplast. This, in turn, may reduce porosity and lead to increased fruit flesh translucency.
An invertase gene was isolated and its mRNA activity and protein levels were determined during papaya (Carica papaya L.) fruit development. A complete invertase cDNA (AF420223) and a partial sucrose synthase cDNA (AF420224) were isolated from papaya fruit cDNA libraries. The invertase cDNA encoded a predicted polypeptide of 582 residues (MW 65,537 Da), and was 68% and 45% identical with carrot apoplastic and vacuolar invertases, respectively. Key amino acids indicative of an apoplastic invertase were conserved. A full-length gene corresponding to the putative apoplastic invertase cDNA was isolated and was organized into seven exons and six introns. Exon 2 (9 bp long) encoded part of a highly conserved region (NDPNG/A). Invertase mRNA and activity levels increased during fruit maturation and sugar accumulation just before ripening. In contrast, sucrose synthase mRNA levels were high during early fruit growth and low during the fruit sugar accumulation stage. A 73-kDa cell wall extractable protein that cross-reacted with carrot apoplastic invertase antisera substantially increased during papaya fruit maturation and declined in full ripe fruit. The increase in invertase protein levels occurred 2 to 4 weeks before maturity and was markedly higher than the overall increase in enzyme activity at this stage. Subsequently, the increase in enzyme activity was higher than the increase in protein levels between 2 weeks before maturity and fully ripe. The results suggested that mRNA level and invertase activity were related to maturity. The data suggested that the invertase was apoplastic, and that post-translational control of enzyme activity occurred, in which a significant accumulation of invertase occurred before the peak of enzymes activity.