SEPALLATA1/2-suppressed mature apples have low ethylene, high auxin and reduced transcription of ripening-related genes
Background and aims: Fruit ripening is an important developmental trait in fleshy fruits, making the fruit palatable for seed dispersers. In some fruit species, there is a strong association between auxin concentrations and fruit ripening. We investigated the relationship between auxin concentrations and the onset of ethylene-related ripening in Malus × domestica (apples) at both the hormone and transcriptome levels.
Methodology: Transgenic apples suppressed for the SEPALLATA1/2 (SEP1/2) class of gene (MADS8/9) that showed severely reduced ripening were compared with untransformed control apples. In each apple type, free indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) concentrations were measured during early ripening. The changes observed in auxin were assessed in light of global changes in gene expression.
Principal results: It was found that mature MADS8/9-suppressed apples had a higher concentration of free IAA. This was associated with increased expression of the auxin biosynthetic genes in the indole-3-acetamide pathway. Additionally, in the MADS8/9-suppressed apples, there was less expression of the GH3 auxin-conjugating enzymes. A number of genes involved in the auxin-regulated transcription (AUX/IAA and ARF classes of genes) were also observed to change in expression, suggesting a mechanism for signal transduction at the start of ripening.Conclusions: The delay in ripening observed in MADS8/9-suppressed apples may be partly due to high auxin concentrations. We propose that, to achieve low auxin associated with fruit maturation, the auxin homeostasis is controlled in a two-pronged manner: (i) by the reduction in biosynthesis and (ii) by an increase in auxin conjugation. This is associated with the change in expression of auxin-signalling genes and the up-regulation of ripening-related genes.
Publication titleAoB Plants
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2012 The Authors