, Volume 109, Issue 8, pp 1669-1676
Date: 13 Oct 2004

Molecular characterization and isolation of the F/f gene for femaleness in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.)

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Abstract

The biological processes leading to sex expression in plants are of tremendous practical significance for fruit production of many agricultural and horticultural crops. Sex-expression studies in cucumber showed that the different sex types are determined by three major genes: M/m, F/f and A/a. The M/m gene in the dominant condition suppresses stamina development and thus leads to female flowers. The F/f gene in the dominant condition shifts the monoecious sex pattern downwards and promotes femaleness by causing a higher level of ethylene in the plant. To investigate the molecular character of the gene F/f, we used nearly isogenic gynoecious (MMFF) and monoecious (MMff) lines (NIL) produced by our own backcross programme. Our investigations confirmed the result of other groups that an additional genomic ACC synthase (key enzyme of ethylene biosynthesis) sequence (CsACS1G) should exist in gynoecious genotypes. A linkage was also verified between the F/f locus and the CsACS1G sequence with our plant material. After the exploration of different Southern hybridization patterns originating from different CsACS1 probes, a restriction map of the CsACS1 locus was constructed. By using this restriction map, the duplication of the CsACS1 gene and following mutation of the CsACS1G gene could be explained. The promoter regions of the genes CsACS1G and CsACS1 were amplified in a splinkerette PCR and sequenced. An exclusive amplification of the new isolated sequence (CsACS1G) in gynoecious (MMFF) and sub-gynoecious (MMFf) genotypes confirmed that the isolated gene is the dominant F allele.

Communicated by R. Hagemann