J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (12): 1478-1485.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00366.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Tomato Fruit Development and Ripening Are Altered by the Silencing of LeEIN2 Gene

Hong-Liang Zhu, Ben-Zhong Zhu, Yi Shao, Xiao-Guang Wang, Xi-Jin Lin, Yuan-Hong Xie, Ying-Cong Li, Hong-Yan Gao and Yun-Bo Luo   

Abstract: Loss-of-function ethylene insensitive 2 (EIN2) mutations showed ethylene insensitivity in Arabidopsis, which indicated an essential role of EIN2 in ethylene signaling. However, the function of EIN2 in fruit ripening has not been investigated. To gain a better understanding of EIN2, the temporal regulation of LeEIN2 expression during tomato fruit development was analyzed. The expression of LeEIN2 was constant at different stages of fruit development, and was not regulated by ethylene. Moreover, LeEIN2-silenced tomato fruits were developed using a virus-induced gene silencing fruit system to study the role of LeEIN2 in tomato fruit ripening. Silenced fruits had a delay in fruit development and ripening, related to greatly descended expression of ethylene-related and ripening-related genes in comparison with those of control fruits. These results suggested LeEIN2 positively mediated ethylene signals during tomato development. In addition, there were fewer seeds and locules in the silenced fruit than those in the control fruit, like the phenotype of parthenocarpic tomato fruit. The content of auxin and the expression of auxin-regulated gene were declined in silenced fruit, which indicated that EIN2 might be important for crosstalk between ethylene and auxin hormones. (Author for correspondence. Tel (Fax): +86 (10) 6273 6479; E-mail: lyb@cau.edu.cn)

Key words: ethylene, fruit development, LeEIL1, LeEIN2, tomato, virus-induced gene silencing.

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