Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Polygalacturonase gene expression in kiwifruit: relationship to fruit softening and ethylene production

  • Zhong-Yan Wang
  • Elspeth A. MacRae
  • Michele A. Wright
  • Karen M. Bolitho
  • Gavin S. Ross
  • Ross G. Atkinson


In kiwifruit, much of the softening process occurs prior to the respiratory climacteric and production of ethylene. This fruit therefore represents an excellent model system for dissecting the process of softening in the absence of endogenous ethylene production. We have characterized the expression of three polygalacturonase (PG) cDNA clones (CkPGA, B and C) isolated from fruit of Actinidia chinensis. Expression of CkPGA and B was detected by northern analysis only in fruit producing endogenous ethylene, and by RT-PCR in other tissues including flower buds, petals at anthesis, and senescent petals. CkPGA promoter fragments of 1296, 860 and 467 bp fused to the β-glucuronidase (uidA) reporter gene directed fruit-specific gene expression during the climacteric in transgenic tomato. CkPGC gene expression was observed in softening fruit, and reached maximum levels (50-fold higher than for CkPGA and B) as fruit passed through the climacteric. However, expression of this gene was also readily detected during fruit development and in fruit harvested prior to the onset of softening. Using RT-PCR, expression of CkPGC was also detected at low levels in root tips and in senescent petals. These results suggest that PG expression is required not only during periods of cell wall degeneration, but also during periods of cell wall turnover and expansion.

Actinidia chinensis fruit kiwifruit polygalacturonase ripening 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhong-Yan Wang
    • 1
  • Elspeth A. MacRae
    • 1
  • Michele A. Wright
    • 1
  • Karen M. Bolitho
    • 1
  • Gavin S. Ross
    • 1
  • Ross G. Atkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.HortResearchMt Albert Research CentreAucklandNew Zealand

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