, Volume 126, Issue 3, pp 427-437
Date: 04 Nov 2012

Changes in distribution of cell wall polysaccharides in floral and fruit abscission zones during fruit development in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)

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After fruit development has been triggered by pollination, the abscission zone (AZ) in the pedicel strengthens its adhesion to keep the fruit attached. Unpollinated flowers are shed at their respective AZs, whereas an enlargement of the same tissue is observed in pollinated flowers. After the fruit has developed and is fully ripened, shedding occurs easily at the AZ, indicating an acceleration of abscission. Cell wall degradation and synthesis may play important roles in these processes; however, little is understood. In this report, we have visualized changes in polysaccharide distribution in the AZs of pollinated versus unpollinated flowers and in the ripened fruits using immunohistochemistry. During floral abscission, a large increase was observed in LM15 labeling of xyloglucan specifically at the AZ in the abscising pedicel. LM5 and LM6 labeling of galactan and arabinan, respectively, also increased—LM5 throughout the pedicel and LM6 at the basal side of the AZ. The results suggest that xyloglucan, pectic galactan and arabinan play key roles in the abscission process. During fruit abscission, unlike in floral abscission, no AZ-specific cell wall polysaccharide deposition was observed; however, high autofluorescence was seen in the AZ of over-ripe fruit pedicels, suggesting secondary cell wall synthesis and lignification of the AZ prior to fruit abscission.

H. Iwai and A. Terao contributed equally to this work.