Mature citrus fruits, which are classified as non-climacteric, evolve very low amounts of ethylene during ripening but respond to exogenous ethylene by ripening-related pigment changes and accelerated respiration. In the present study we show that young citrus fruitlets attached to the tree produce high levels of ethylene, which decrease dramatically towards maturation. Upon harvest, fruitlets exhibited a climacteric-like rise in ethylene production, preceded by induction of the genes for 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) synthase 1 (CsACS1), ACC oxidase 1 (CsACO1) and the ethylene receptor CsERS1. This induction was advanced and augmented by exogenous ethylene or propylene, indicating an autocatalytic system II-like ethylene biosynthesis. In mature, detached fruit, very low rates of ethylene production were associated with constitutive expression of the ACC synthase 2 (CsACS2) and ethylene receptor CsETR1 genes (system I). CsACS1 gene expression was undetectable at this stage, even following ethylene or propylene treatment, and CsERS1 gene expression remained constant, indicating that no autocatalytic response had occurred. The transition from system II-like behavior of young fruitlets to system I behavior appears to be under developmental control.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements Thanks are due to Prof. Donald Grierson (University of Nottingham, UK) for critical reading of the manuscript. The financial support through a fellowship to E.K. by the Israeli Citrus Marketing Board is gratefully acknowledged.
- 1-Aminocyclopropane-1- carboxylate oxidase
- 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase
- Citrus fruit
- Non-climacteric fruit
- System I and II