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J Plant Physiol. 2013 Jul 15;170(11):987-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Mar 16.

Delayed ripening and improved fruit processing quality in tomato by RNAi-mediated silencing of three homologs of 1-aminopropane-1-carboxylate synthase gene.

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  • 1Plant Polyamine, Transgenic and RNAi Research Laboratory, Department of Genetics, University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi 110021, India.


The ripening hormone, ethylene is known to initiate, modulate and co-ordinate the expression of various genes involved in the ripening process. The burst in ethylene production is the key event for the onset of ripening in climacteric fruits, including tomatoes. Therefore ethylene is held accountable for the tons of post-harvest losses due to over-ripening and subsequently resulting in fruit rotting. In the present investigation, delayed ripening tomatoes were generated by silencing three homologs of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) synthase (ACS) gene during the course of ripening using RNAi technology. The chimeric RNAi-ACS construct designed to target ACS homologs, effectively repressed the ethylene production in tomato fruits. Fruits from such lines exhibited delayed ripening and extended shelf life for ∼45 days, with improved juice quality. The ethylene suppression brought about compositional changes in these fruits by enhancing polyamine (PA) levels. Further, decreased levels of ethylene in RNAi-ACS fruits has led to the altered levels of various ripening-specific transcripts, especially the up-regulation of PA biosynthesis and ascorbic acid (AsA) metabolism genes and down-regulation of cell wall hydrolyzing enzyme genes. These results suggest that the down-regulation of ACS homologs using RNAi can be an effective approach for obtaining delayed ripening with longer shelf life and an enhanced processing quality of tomato fruits. Also, the chimeric gene fusion can be used as an effective design for simultaneous silencing of more than one gene. These observations would be useful in better understanding of the ethylene and PA signaling during fruit ripening and molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction of these two molecules in affecting fruit quality traits.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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