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Plant Mol Biol. 2012 Jul;79(4-5):429-42. doi: 10.1007/s11103-012-9921-2. Epub 2012 May 19.

A functional pectin methylesterase inhibitor protein (SolyPMEI) is expressed during tomato fruit ripening and interacts with PME-1.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie "Charles Darwin", "Sapienza" Universit√† di Roma, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Rome, Italy.


A pectin methylesterase inhibitor (SolyPMEI) from tomato has been identified and characterised by a functional genomics approach. SolyPMEI is a cell wall protein sharing high similarity with Actinidia deliciosa PMEI (AdPMEI), the best characterised inhibitor from kiwi. It typically affects the activity of plant pectin methylesterases (PMEs) and is inactive against a microbial PME. SolyPMEI transcripts were mainly expressed in flower, pollen and ripe fruit where the protein accumulated at breaker and turning stages of ripening. The expression of SolyPMEI correlated during ripening with that of PME-1, the major fruit specific PME isoform. The interaction of SolyPMEI with PME-1 was demonstrated in ripe fruit by gel filtration and by immunoaffinity chromatography. The analysis of the zonal distribution of PME activity and the co-localization of SolyPMEI with high esterified pectins suggest that SolyPMEI regulates the spatial patterning of distribution of esterified pectins in fruit.

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