Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 839–848 | Cite as

Cellulase and polygalacturonase involvement in the abscission of leaf and fruit explants of peach

  • C. Bonghi
  • N. Rascio
  • A. Ramina
  • G. Casadoro
Research Articles


Ethylene-induced abscission in leaf and fruit explants of peach involves different enzymes. In leaves abscission is accompanied by increased occurrence of cellulase forms differing in isoelectric point (pI 6.5 and 9.5). A polypeptide with a molecular mass of 51 kDa gives in a western blot a strong cross-reaction with an antibody raised against a maturation cellulase from avocado fruit. Cellulase activity is also found in abscising fruit explants but the amount is very low compared to that of the leaf explants. A northern analysis with a cellulase clone from avocado reveals the presence of two hybridizing mRNAs with a size of 2.2 kb and 1.8 kb, respectively. The steady-state level of the 2.2 kb mRNA is significantly increased by treatment with ethylene.

Polygalacturonases are not detected in abscising leaves, but are strongly induced by ethylene in fruit explants. Of the three forms found, two are exopolygalacturonases while the third is an endoenzyme. Ethylene activates preferentially the endoenzyme and the basic exoenzyme but depresses the acid exopolygalacturonases. A northern analysis carried out with a cDNA coding for tomato endopolygalacturonase shows hybridization only with one endopolygalacturonase mRNA from in the fruit abscission zone. Treatment with ethylene causes an increase in the steady-state level of this mRNA. The differences in the enzyme patterns observed in fruit and leaf abscission zones and a differential enzyme induction suggest the feasibility to regulate fruit abscission in peach with the aid of antisense RNA genes.

Key words

cellulase ethylene fruit abscission leaf abscission polygalacturonase 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Bonghi
    • 1
  • N. Rascio
    • 2
  • A. Ramina
    • 1
  • G. Casadoro
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of PomologyUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of PaduaPadovaItaly

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