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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #297699

Title: Molecular and genetic regulation of fruit ripening

item GAPPER, NIGEL - Cornell University
item MCQUINN, RYAN - Cornell University
item Giovannoni, James

Submitted to: Plant Molecular Biology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2013
Publication Date: 4/13/2013
Publication URL: http://DOI: 10.1007/s11103-013-0050-3
Citation: Gapper, N., Mcquinn, R., Giovannoni, J.J. 2013. Molecular and genetic regulation of fruit ripening. Plant Molecular Biology. 82:575-591.

Interpretive Summary: Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone associated with numerous response and developmental processes, including root initiation, floral development, seed germination, fruit ripening, senescence, and responses to numerous stresses. Because of its practical and agricultural implications, ethylene’s role as a regulator of ripening is perhaps one of the most studied areas of ethylene biology. Genetic mutations are key to elucidating gene function and tomato has one of the best collections of characterized, maintained and readily accessible fruit, and specifically ripening-related mutations, through the Charles Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center housed at the University of California, Davis ( Key to understanding tomato fruit ripening has been used of several single locus mutations with severe ripening inhibition. Specifically, these include the ripening-inhibitor (rin), non-ripening (nor) and colourless non-ripening (Cnr) mutations that have been especially useful in developing an understanding of the transcriptional control system underlying tomato ripening. Here we describe these mutations and how the underlying genes provide insights into the genetic control of ripening and how it might be manipulated for increased fruit storability and nutritional quality.

Technical Abstract: Fleshy fruit undergo a novel developmental program that ends in the irreversible process of ripening and eventual tissue senescence. During these maturation processes, fruit undergo numerous physiological, biochemical and structural alterations, making them more attractive to seed dispersal organisms. In addition, advanced or over-ripening and senescence, especially through tissue softening and eventual decay, render fruit susceptible to invasion by opportunistic pathogens. While ripening and senescence are often used interchangeably, the distinct metabolic activities of each would suggest that ripening is a distinct process of fleshy fruits that precede and may predispose the fruit to subsequent senescence.