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Plant Cell. Oct 1994; 6(10): 1485–1493.
PMCID: PMC160536

Two divergent endo-beta-1,4-glucanase genes exhibit overlapping expression in ripening fruit and abscising flowers.


Two structurally divergent endo-beta-1,4-glucanase (EGase) cDNAs were cloned from tomato. Although both cDNAs (Cel1 and Cel2) encode potentially glycosylated, basic proteins of 51 to 53 kD and possess multiple amino acid domains conserved in both plant and microbial EGases, Cel1 and Cel2 exhibit only 50% amino acid identity at the overall sequence level. Amino acid sequence comparisons to other plant EGases indicate that tomato Cel1 is most similar to bean abscission zone EGase (68%), whereas Cel2 exhibits greatest sequence identity to avocado fruit EGase (57%). Sequence comparisons suggest the presence of at least two structurally divergent EGase families in plants. Unlike ripening avocado fruit and bean abscission zones in which a single EGase mRNA predominates, EGase expression in tomato reflects the overlapping accumulation of both Cel1 and Cel2 transcripts in ripening fruit and in plant organs undergoing cell separation. Cel1 mRNA contributes significantly to total EGase mRNA accumulation within plant organs undergoing cell separation (abscission zones and mature anthers), whereas Cel2 mRNA is most abundant in ripening fruit. The overlapping expression of divergent EGase genes within a single species may suggest that multiple activities are required for the cooperative disassembly of cell wall components during fruit ripening, floral abscission, and anther dehiscence.

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Selected References

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