Expression of CsSEF1 gene encoding putative CCCH zinc finger protein is induced by defoliation and prolonged darkness in cucumber fruit

Akio Tazuke, Munehiko Asayama
Planta 2013, 237 (3): 681-91
To find a marker gene for photoassimilate limitation in cucumber fruit, genes induced in young fruit by total defoliation were cloned using the subtraction method. Almost every clone matched perfectly to a member of cucumber unigene ver. 3 of the Cucurbit Genomics Database. From the clones obtained, six genes were selected and the effect of defoliation on their expression was analyzed. In particular, expression of a gene that is highly homologous to the cucumber gene CsSEF1 (CAI30889) encoding putative CCCH zinc finger protein, which is reported to be induced at somatic embryogenesis in suspension culture, was enhanced by the treatment by about 50 times. The sequencing of the full-length cDNA and BLAST search in the Cucurbit Genomics Database indicated that our cloned gene is identical to CsSEF1. In control fruit, the expression of CsSEF1 did not change markedly in terms of development. By contrast, the expression of CsSEF1 was enhanced by prolonged darkness at the transcript level. This increase in the expression of CsSEF1 was temporally correlated with the decline in the fruit respiration rate. In mature leaves under prolonged darkness, enhanced expression was observed in the asparagine synthetase gene, but not in CsSEF1. These results suggest that the asparagine synthetase gene can be a good marker for sugar starvation and that CsSEF1 might be involved in the signal transduction pathway from photoassimilate limitation to growth cessation in cucumber fruit.


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