, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 251–263 | Cite as

Control of ripening in transgenic tomatoes

  • Don Grierson
  • Rupert Fray


Major progress has been made over the last few years in the identification and regulation of tomato ripening genes. At least 25 genes showing elevated expression during ripening have been cloned and several, including polygalacturonase, which modifies fruit textures, have been shown to be ripening-specific. In addition, genes have been cloned for ACC synthase and ACC oxidase, which control the synthesis of ethylene, which plays a critical role in ripening. Inhibition of expression of polygalacturonase, pectinesterase, ACC synthase, ACC oxidase and phytoene synthase has been achieved in transgenic plants, using antisense technology. The expression of several genes has also been inhibited by sense gene suppression. New traits caused by these transgenes are stably inherited. Antisense tomatoes with reduced polygalacturonase have improved textural qualities which are being exploited commercially for the fresh and processed markets. Overexpression of phytoene synthase has been shown to restore carotenoid production in the yellow flesh mutant and can be used to enhance colour in other cultivars. Antisense fruit in which ACC synthase or ACC oxidase are inhibited show slower ripening and reduced over-ripening. ACC oxidase antisense genes have also been shown to delay leaf senescence. It is to be expected that further genes determining other quality traits will be identified and manipulated soon.

Key words

Acc oxidase acc synthase antisense gene ethylene, sense-suppression phytoene synthase polygalacturonase 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don Grierson
    • 1
  • Rupert Fray
    • 1
  1. 1.BBSRC Research Group in Plant Gene Regulation, Department of Physiology and Environmental ScienceNottingham UniversityLoughboroughUK

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