Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/23/2008
Publication Date: 4/7/2009
Citation: Giovannoni, J.J. 2009. Regulation of fruit ripening. In: Well, J., Blumel, D., Malmoll, S., Netting, J., editors. Yearbook of Science and Technology. 2009. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Publishers. p. 314-317. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Fruit ripening is a process unique to plants in which floral seed bearing organs mature into fleshy structures attractive and nutritious to seed dispersing organisms. While the specific characteristics of ripening fruit vary among species, a number of general themes are exhibited in many fleshy ripening fruits including accumulation of visually attractive pigments, production of aromatic volatiles, cell wall and cell turgor modifications leading to softening and juiciness, accumulation of sugars and increased susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens responsible for the propensity of ripe fruit to rot. Emerging genome sequence and accumulating transcriptomics data suggest a number of regulatory genes, including transcription factors, are expressed preferentially in ripening fruit and may contribute to the control of this process. Characterized transcription factors include RIN, CNR and LeHB-1 with the later a direct regulator of ethylene synthesis genes. Direct regulation of LeHB-1 by RIN or CNR remains to be verified though its ability to directly bind the promoter of a gene involved in ethylene synthesis suggests it may be downstream of these regulators. As a clearer model of ripening control is populated with additional gene functions, opportunities for enhanced genetic control of ripening will expand and with them opportunities for a more nutritious and secure food supply.