Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 303–311 | Cite as

Control and manipulation of gene expression during tomato fruit ripening

  • Wolfgang Schuch
  • Colin R. Bird
  • John Ray
  • Christopher J. S. Smith
  • Colin F. Watson
  • Peter C. Morris
  • Julie E. Gray
  • Christine Arnold
  • Graham B. Seymour
  • Gregory A. Tucker
  • Donald Grierson


Ripening is a complex developmental process involving changes in the biochemistry, physiology and gene expression of the fruit. It is an active process characterised by changes in all cellular compartments. cDNA cloning has been used as an approach to analyse changes in gene expression during fruit ripening. This has revealed that several genes are switched on specifically during fruit ripening, including one encoding polygalacturonase (PG), a major cell wall protein. These cDNA clones have been used to study the expression of the genes in normal and ripening mutant fruits, and under environmental stress conditions.

The PG gene has been isolated and it has been demonstrated that 1450 bases 5′ of the coding region are sufficient for the tissue- and development-specific expression of a bacterial marker gene in transgenic tomatoes. Antisense RNA techniques have been developed to generate novel mutant tomatoes in which the biochemical function of this enzyme and its involvement in fruit softening has been tested.

Key words

fruit ripening tomatoes polygalacturonase antisense 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Schuch
    • 1
  • Colin R. Bird
    • 1
  • John Ray
    • 1
  • Christopher J. S. Smith
    • 2
  • Colin F. Watson
    • 2
  • Peter C. Morris
    • 2
  • Julie E. Gray
    • 2
  • Christine Arnold
    • 2
  • Graham B. Seymour
    • 2
  • Gregory A. Tucker
    • 3
  • Donald Grierson
    • 2
  1. 1.ICI Seeds Plant Biotechnology SectionJealott's Hill Research StationBracknell, BerkshireUK
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of Nottingham, Faculty of agricultural ScienceLoughboroughUK
  3. 3.Department of Applied Biochemistry and Food ScienceUniversity of Nottingham, Faculty of Agricultural ScienceLoughboroughUK

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