Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 87-95

First online:

An endo-1,4-β-glucanase expressed at high levels in rapidly expanding tissues

  • David A. BrummellAffiliated withMann Laboratory, Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California
  • , Colin R. BirdAffiliated withJealott's Hill Research Station, Zeneca Plant Science
  • , Wolfgang SchuchAffiliated withJealott's Hill Research Station, Zeneca Plant Science
  • , Alan B. BennettAffiliated withMann Laboratory, Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California

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Plant developmental processes involving modifications to cell wall structure, such as cell expansion, organ abscission and fruit ripening, are accompanied by increased enzyme activity and mRNA abundance of endo-1,4-β-glucanases (EGases). An EGase cDNA clone, Ce14, isolated from tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) has been shown to be identical to a tomato pistil-predominant EGase cDNA, TPP18. In addition to its previously reported expression during certain stages of early pistil development, Ce14 mRNA was also detected at high levels in the growing zones of etiolated hypocotyls (about 2.5-fold less than in pistils) and in young expanding leaves (about 3.5-fold less than in pistils). The abundance of Ce14 mRNA declined precipitously in older tissues as cells became fully expanded, and was barely detectable in mature vegetative tissues. Ce14 mRNA abundance was also low in abscission zones, and did not increase as abscission progressed. In fruit, Ce14 mRNA was present at low levels during fruit expansion, but was essentially absent during subsequent fruit development and ripening. Treatment of etiolated hypocotyls with ethylene or high concentrations of auxin sufficient to induce rapid lateral cell expansion and hypocotyl swelling also brought about an approximate doubling of Ce14 mRNA abundance, suggesting that Ce14 mRNA accumulation may be promoted directly or indirectly by ethylene. Thus, accumulation of Ce14 mRNA was found to be correlated with rapid cell expansion in pistils, hypocotyls and leaves.

auxin cell expansion cellulase endo-1,4-β-glucanase ethylene gene expression