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Plant Physiol. 2003 Sep;133(1):263-73.

Class I chitinase and beta-1,3-glucanase are differentially regulated by wounding, methyl jasmonate, ethylene, and gibberellin in tomato seeds and leaves.

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  • 1Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616-8631, USA.


Class I chitinase (Chi9) and beta-1,3-glucanase (GluB) genes are expressed in the micropylar endosperm cap of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) seeds just before radicle emergence through this tissue to complete germination. In gibberellin (GA)-deficient mutant (gib-1) seeds, expression of Chi9 and GluB mRNA and protein is dependent upon GA. However, as expression occurs relatively late in the germination process, we investigated whether the genes are induced indirectly in response to tissue wounding associated with endosperm cap weakening and radicle protrusion. Wounding and methyl jasmonate (MeJA) induced Chi9 expression, whereas ethylene, abscisic acid, sodium salicylate, fusicoccin, or beta-aminobutyric acid were without effect. Chi9 expression occurred only in the micropylar tissues when seeds were exposed to MeJA or were wounded at the chalazal end of the seed. Expression of Chi9, but not GluB, mRNA was reduced in germinating seeds of the jasmonate-deficient defenseless1 tomato mutant and could be restored by MeJA treatment. Chi9 expression during germination may be associated with "wounding" from cell wall hydrolysis and weakening in the endosperm cap leading to radicle protrusion, and jasmonate is involved in the signaling pathway for this response. Among these treatments and chemicals (other than GA), only MeJA and wounding induced a low level of GluB expression in gib-1 seeds. However, MeJA, wounding, and particularly ethylene induced both genes in leaves, whereas GA induced only Chi9 in leaves. Although normally expressed simultaneously during tomato seed germination, Chi9 and GluB genes are regulated distinctly and tissue specifically by hormones and wounding.

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