Cloning and characterization of two 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase genes, differentially regulated during fruit maturation and under stress conditions, from orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck)

María-Jesús Rodrigo, Berta Alquezar, Lorenzo Zacarías
Journal of Experimental Botany 2006, 57 (3): 633-43
There is now biochemical and genetic evidence that oxidative cleavage of cis-epoxycarotenoids by 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED) is the critical step in the regulation of abscisic acid (ABA) synthesis in higher plants. The peel of Citrus fruit accumulates large amounts of ABA during maturation. To understand the regulation of ABA biosynthesis in Citrus, two full-length cDNAs (CsNCED1 and CsNCED2) encoding NCEDs were isolated and characterized from the epicarp of orange fruits (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck). Expression of the CsNCED1 gene increased in the epicarp during natural and ethylene-induced fruit maturation, and in water-stressed leaves, in a pattern consistent with the accumulation of ABA. The second gene, CsNCED2, was not detected in dehydrated leaves and, in fruits, exhibited a differential expression to that of CsNCED1. Taken together, these results suggests that CsNCED1 is likely to play a primary role in the biosynthesis of ABA in both leaves and fruits, while CsNCED2 appears to play a subsidiary role restricted to chromoplast-containing tissue. Furthermore, analysis of 9-cis-violaxanthin and 9'-cis-neoxanthin, as the two possible substrates for NCEDs, revealed that the former was the main carotenoid in the outer coloured part of the fruit peel as the fruit ripened or after ethylene treatment, whereas 9'-cis-neoxanthin was not detected or was in trace amounts. By contrast, turgid and dehydrated leaves contained 9'-cis-neoxanthin but 9-cis-violaxanthin was absent. Based on these results, it is suggested that 9-cis-violaxanthin may be the predominant substrate for NCED in the peel of Citrus fruits, whereas 9'-cis-neoxanthin would be the precursor of ABA in photosynthetic tissues.

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