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  • Author or Editor: Jiang Yueming x
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To understand the relationship between fruit cracking and gene expression patterns, we identified two expansin genes from litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit and then examined their expression profiles in pericarp and aril at different stages of fruit development, using the cracking-resistant cultivar Huaizhi and the cracking-susceptible cultivar Nuomici. Two full-length cDNAs of 1087 and 1010 base pairs encoding expansin, named LcExp1 and LcExp2, were isolated from expanding fruit using RT-PCR and RACE-PCR (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) methods. LcExp1 mRNA could be detected from the early stage of fruit rapid growth (59 days after anthesis). The LcExp1 mRNA increased and reached to the highest level at the end of growth phase (80 days after anthesis) in pericarp of `Huaizhi', while the mRNA could be detected at the stage of rapid fruit growth, then increased slightly and finally kept remained almost constant in the pericarp of `Nuomici'. Similar accumulation of LcExp2 mRNA was observed in fruit aril of `Nuomici' and `Huaizhi', whereas LcExp2 accumulated only in pericarp of `Huaizhi' but did not appear in pericarp of `Nuomici'. The results indicate that expression of two expansin genes in litchi pericarp are closely associated with fruit growth and cracking.

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Fresh fruit of longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) are susceptible to pericarp browning and aril breakdown. Aril breakdown in longan fruit is regarded as one of the most important factors reducing quality and shortening storage life of the fruit. To better understand the molecular mechanism of aril breakdown, the expression patterns of three expansin (EXP) and three xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) genes in relation to the aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at room temperature (25 °C) or low temperature (4 °C) were investigated. The results showed that aril breakdown index increased progressively during storage at 25 and at 4 °C. Northern blotting analysis revealed that the accumulations of three EXP and three XET genes exhibited differential characteristics with the occurrence of aril breakdown. During storage at 25 °C, the accumulations of Dl-XET3 increased after 1 day, suggesting that Dl-XET3 correlated well with the early aril breakdown, while Dl-EXP3 together with Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 was involved in later aril breakdown. However, expression of Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 could be mainly involved in aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at 4 °C. In addition, Dl-EXP2, whose accumulation increased sharply when longan fruit were transferred from low temperature to room temperature within 12 hours, was related to the aril breakdown in this storage period. These data indicated that Dl-EXPs and Dl-XETs were closely related to aril breakdown in longan fruit.

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