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Polyamine metabolism is altered in unpollinated parthenocarpic pat-2 tomato ovaries

AuthorsFos, M.; Proano, K.; Alabadí, David ; Nuez, Fernando; Carbonell-Gisbert, Juan ; García-Martínez, José-Luis
KeywordsOrnithine decarboxylase
Arginine decarboxylase
Natural parthenocarpy
Issue DateJan-2003
PublisherAmerican Society of Plant Biologists
CitationPlant Physiology 131/1: 359-366 (2003)
AbstractFacultative parthenocarpy induced by the recessive mutation pat-2 in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) depends on gibberellins (GAs) and is associated with changes in GA content in unpollinated ovaries. Polyamines (PAs) have also been proposed to play a role in early tomato fruit development. We therefore investigated whether PAs are able to induce parthenocarpy and whether the pat-2 mutation alters the content and metabolism of PAs in unpollinated ovaries. Application of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine to wild-type unpollinated tomato ovaries (cv Madrigal [MA/wt]) induced partial parthenocarpy. Parthenocarpic growth of MA/pat-2 (a parthenocarpic near-isogenic line to MA/wt) ovaries was negated by paclobutrazol (GA biosynthesis inhibitor), and this inhibition was counteracted by spermidine. Application of alpha-difluoromethyl-ornithine (-Orn) and/or alpha-difluoromethyl-arginine (-Arg), irreversible inhibitors of the putrescine biosynthesis enzymes Orn decarboxylase (ODC) and Arg decarboxylase, respectively, prevented growth of unpollinated MA/pat-2 ovaries. alpha-Difluoromethyl-Arg inhibition was counteracted by putrescine and GA(3), whereas that of alpha-difluoromethyl-Orn was counteracted by GA(3) but not by putrescine or spermidine. In unpollinated MA/pat-2 ovaries, the content of free spermine was significantly higher than in MA/wt ovaries. ODC activity was higher in pat-2 ovaries than in MA/wt. Transcript levels of genes encoding ODC and spermidine synthase were also higher in MA/pat-2. All together, these results strongly suggest that the parthenocarpic ability of pat-2 mutants depends on elevated PAs levels in unpollinated mutant ovaries, which correlate with an activation of the ODC pathway, probably as a consequence of elevated GA content in unpollinated pat-2 tomato ovaries.
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