• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of plntcellLink to Publisher's site
Plant Cell. Jan 1989; 1(1): 53–63.
PMCID: PMC159736

Expression of a chimeric polygalacturonase gene in transgenic rin (ripening inhibitor) tomato fruit results in polyuronide degradation but not fruit softening.


Tomato fruit ripening is accompanied by extensive degradation of pectic cell wall components. This is thought to be due to the action of a single enzyme, polygalacturonase, whose activity is controlled, at least in part, at the level of gene expression. At the onset of tomato fruit ripening, polygalacturonase enzyme activity, mRNA levels, and relative rate of gene transcription all increase dramatically. To elucidate the role of polygalacturonase during tomato fruit ripening, we utilized a pleiotropic genetic mutation, rin, that blocks many aspects of ripening, including the activation of polygalacturonase gene transcription. The polygalacturonase structural gene was ligated to a promoter that is inducible in mature rin fruit and inserted into the fruit genome, and plants were regenerated. This allowed expression of the polygalacturonase gene in transgenic rin fruit at a time corresponding to ripening in wild-type fruit. Expression of this gene resulted in the accumulation of active polygalacturonase enzyme and the degradation of cell wall polyuronides in transgenic rin fruit. However, no significant effect on fruit softening, ethylene evolution, or color development was detected. These results indicate that polygalacturonase is the primary determinant of cell wall polyuronide degradation, but suggest that this degradation is not sufficient for the induction of softening, elevated rates of ethylene biosynthesis, or lycopene accumulation in rin fruit.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (2.3M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Biggs MS, Harriman RW, Handa AK. Changes in Gene Expression during Tomato Fruit Ripening. Plant Physiol. 1986 Jun;81(2):395–403. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Blumenkrantz N, Asboe-Hansen G. New method for quantitative determination of uronic acids. Anal Biochem. 1973 Aug;54(2):484–489. [PubMed]
  • Burg SP, Burg EA. Molecular requirements for the biological activity of ethylene. Plant Physiol. 1967 Jan;42(1):144–152. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Crookes PR, Grierson D. Ultrastructure of tomato fruit ripening and the role of polygalacturonase isoenzymes in cell wall degradation. Plant Physiol. 1983 Aug;72(4):1088–1093. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Davis KR, Darvill AG, Albersheim P, Dell A. Host-Pathogen Interactions : XXIX. Oligogalacturonides Released from Sodium Polypectate by Endopolygalacturonic Acid Lyase Are Elicitors of Phytoalexins in Soybean. Plant Physiol. 1986 Feb;80(2):568–577. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Deikman J, Fischer RL. Interaction of a DNA binding factor with the 5'-flanking region of an ethylene-responsive fruit ripening gene from tomato. EMBO J. 1988 Nov;7(11):3315–3320. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dellapenna D, Alexander DC, Bennett AB. Molecular cloning of tomato fruit polygalacturonase: Analysis of polygalacturonase mRNA levels during ripening. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Sep;83(17):6420–6424. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dellapenna D, Kates DS, Bennett AB. Polygalacturonase Gene Expression in Rutgers, rin, nor, and Nr Tomato Fruits. Plant Physiol. 1987 Oct;85(2):502–507. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fuchs Y, Anderson JD. Purification and characterization of ethylene inducing proteins from cellulysin. Plant Physiol. 1987 Jul;84(3):732–736. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Grierson D, Tucker GA, Keen J, Ray J, Bird CR, Schuch W. Sequencing and identification of a cDNA clone for tomato polygalacturonase. Nucleic Acids Res. 1986 Nov 11;14(21):8595–8603. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hobson GE. Polygalacturonase in normal and abnormal tomato fruit. Biochem J. 1964 Aug;92(2):324–332. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lincoln JE, Fischer RL. Diverse mechanisms for the regulation of ethylene-inducible gene expression. Mol Gen Genet. 1988 Apr;212(1):71–75. [PubMed]
  • Lincoln JE, Fischer RL. Regulation of Gene Expression by Ethylene in Wild-Type and rin Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) Fruit. Plant Physiol. 1988 Oct;88(2):370–374. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lincoln JE, Cordes S, Read E, Fischer RL. Regulation of gene expression by ethylene during Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) fruit development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 May;84(9):2793–2797. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McMurchie EJ, McGlasson WB, Eaks IL. Treatment of fruit with propylene gives information about the biogenesis of ethylene. Nature. 1972 May 26;237(5352):235–236. [PubMed]
  • Sanger F, Nicklen S, Coulson AR. DNA sequencing with chain-terminating inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Dec;74(12):5463–5467. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Themmen AP, Tucker GA, Grierson D. Degradation of isolated tomato cell walls by purified polygalacturonase in vitro. Plant Physiol. 1982 Jan;69(1):122–124. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tong CB, Labavitch JM, Yang SF. The induction of ethylene production from pear cell culture by cell wall fragments. Plant Physiol. 1986 Jul;81(3):929–930. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tucker GA, Robertson NG, Grierson D. Changes in polygalacturonase isoenzymes during the 'ripening' of normal and mutant tomato fruit. Eur J Biochem. 1980 Nov;112(1):119–124. [PubMed]
  • Van Haute E, Joos H, Maes M, Warren G, Van Montagu M, Schell J. Intergeneric transfer and exchange recombination of restriction fragments cloned in pBR322: a novel strategy for the reversed genetics of the Ti plasmids of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. EMBO J. 1983;2(3):411–417. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Walker-Simmons M, Ryan CA. Proteinase inhibitor I accumulation in tomato suspension cultures : induction by plant and fungal cell wall fragments and an extracellular polysaccharide secreted into the medium. Plant Physiol. 1986 Jan;80(1):68–71. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wallner SJ, Bloom HL. Characteristics of tomato cell wall degradation in vitro: implications for the study of fruit-softening enzymes. Plant Physiol. 1977 Aug;60(2):207–210. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wallner SJ, Walker JE. Glycosidases in Cell Wall-degrading Extracts of Ripening Tomato Fruits. Plant Physiol. 1975 Jan;55(1):94–98. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The Plant Cell are provided here courtesy of American Society of Plant Biologists


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...