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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Dec; 85(23): 8805–8809.
PMCID: PMC282595

Reduction of polygalacturonase activity in tomato fruit by antisense RNA


Polygalacturonase [PG; poly(1,4-α-D-galacturonide) glycanhydrolase; EC] is expressed in tomato only during the ripening stage of fruit development. PG becomes abundant during ripening and has a major role in cell wall degradation and fruit softening. Tomato plants were transformed to produce antisense RNA from a gene construct containing the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter and a full-length PG cDNA in reverse orientation. The construct was integrated into the tomato genome by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The constitutive synthesis of PG antisense RNA in transgenic plants resulted in a substantial reduction in the levels of PG mRNA and enzymatic activity in ripening fruit. The steady-state levels of PG antisense RNA in green fruit of transgenic plants were lower than the levels of PG mRNA normally attained during ripening. However, analysis of transcription in isolated nuclei demonstrated that the antisense RNA construct was transcribed at a higher rate than the tomato PG gene(s). Analysis of fruit from transgenic plants demonstrated a reduction in PG mRNA and enzymatic activity of 70-90%. The reduction in PG activity did not prevent the accumulation of the red pigment lycopene.

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