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J Plant Physiol. 2013 Jan 1;170(1):115-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.09.001. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

Molecular cloning and characterization of cDNAs encoding carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase in bitter melon (Momordica charantia).

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Department of Crop Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, 220 Gung-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-764, Republic of Korea.


Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases (CCDs) are a family of enzymes that catalyze the oxidative cleavage of carotenoids at various chain positions to form a broad spectrum of apocarotenoids, including aromatic substances, pigments and phytohormones. Using the rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR method, we isolated three cDNA-encoding CCDs (McCCD1, McCCD4, and McNCED) from Momordica charantia. Amino acid sequence alignments showed that they share high sequence identity with other orthologous genes. Quantitative real-time RT PCR (reverse transcriptase PCR) analysis revealed that the expression of McCCD1 and McCCD4 was highest in flowers, and lowest in roots and old leaves (O-leaves). During fruit maturation, the two genes displayed differential expression, with McCCD1 peaking at mid-stage maturation while McCCD4 showed the lowest expression at that stage. The mRNA expression level of McNCED, a key enzyme involved in abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis, was high during fruit maturation and further increased at the beginning of seed germination. When first-leaf stage plants of M. charantia were exposed to dehydration stress, McNCED mRNA expression was induced primarily in the leaves and, to a lesser extend, in roots and stems. McNCED expression was also induced by high temperature and salinity, while treatment with exogenous ABA led to a decrease. These results should be helpful in determining the substrates and cleavage sites catalyzed by CCD genes in M. charantia, and also in defining the roles of CCDs in growth and development, and in the plant's response to environmental stress.

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