Sexual Plant Reproduction

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 103–111 | Cite as

Characterization of ethylene effects on sex determination in cucumber plants

  • Seiji Yamasaki
  • Nobuharu FujiiEmail author
  • Hideyuki Takahashi
Original Article


Sex differentiation in cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus L.) appears to be determined by the selective arrest of the stamen or pistil primordia. We investigated the influence of an ethylene-releasing agent (ethephon) or an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis (aminoethoxyvinyl glycine) on sex differentiation in different developmental stages of flower buds. These treatments influence sex determination only at the stamen primordia differentiation stage in both monoecious and gynoecious cucumbers. To clarify the relationships between the ethylene-producing tissues and the ethylene-perceiving tissues in inducing female flowers in the cucumber, we examined the localization of mRNA accumulation of both the ACC synthase gene (CS-ACS2) and the ethylene-receptor-related genes (CS-ETR1, CS-ETR2, and CS-ERS) in flower buds by in situ hybridization analysis. CS-ACS2 mRNA was detected in the pistil primordia of gynoecious cucumbers, whereas it was located in the tissues just below the pistil primordia and at the adaxial side of the petals in monoecious cucumbers. In flower buds of andromonoecious cucumbers, only CS-ETR1 mRNA was detected, and was located in the pistil primordia. The localization of the mRNAs of the three ethylene-receptor-related genes in the flower buds of monoecious and gynoecious cucumbers overlap but are not identical. We discuss the relationship between the mRNA accumulation patterns and sex expression in cucumber plants.


ACC synthase Cucumber (Cucumis sativusEthylene Ethylene-receptor-related genes Sex expression 



This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid (09460118) from the Ministry of Education and Science of Japan to H.T. and the Research Fellowships of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists to S.Y. This work was also performed under the Joint Research Program of the Institute of Genetic Ecology, Tohoku University, and the "Ground Research Announcement for Space Utilization" promoted by NASDA and the Japan Space Forum. We thank Dr. Atsushi Higashitani of our laboratory for his helpful suggestions and discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seiji Yamasaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nobuharu Fujii
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hideyuki Takahashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendai 980–8577Japan
  2. 2.Fukuoka University of EducationFukuoka 811–4192Japan

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