From database comparisons of 1,117 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) generated from ripened Fuji apple fruits, we identified ten ubiquitin (Ub)-related genes. RNA gel-blot analysis suggests that these Ub-related genes are induced by at least four distinct signaling pathways in fruits. In this study, we analyzed structure and expression of MdFBCP1, encoding an F-box-containing protein 1, in Fuji apples. MdFBCP1 transcript was predominantly expressed in the fully ripened climacteric fruits, in which serge of ethylene production occurred. The MdFBCP1 gene was also activated effectively in response to exogenous ethylene treatment, with the induction pattern being comparable to those of ACC oxidase and β-cyanoalanine synthase. Thus, it seems likely that the expression of MdFBCP1 is closely associated with a climacteric ethylene production and ACC oxidase activity and, hence, MdFBCP1 may play a role in the ripening process of Fuji apple fruits. Yeast two hybrid and in vitro pull-down assays revealed that MdFBCP1 physically interacted with MdSkp1 and N-terminal F-box motif was essential for this interaction. These results suggest that MdFBCP1 indeed functions as an F-box-containing protein and participates in the formation of SCF complex, which acts as E3 Ub ligase. Genomic Southern blot analysis showed that MdFBCP1 exhibited different pattern of restriction enzyme digestion in three cultivars (Tsugaru, Golden Delicious and Fuji) that produce different amount of ethylene, suggesting that the MdFBCP1 gene is organized in a cultivar specific manner. Collectively, our data suggest that Ub degradation pathway may play an important role in the ripening of Fuji apple fruits.
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Acknowledgments This work was supported by grants to W.T.K. from the Plant Diversity Research Center (21st Century Frontier Research Program funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Korean government) and the Plant Metabolism Research Center at Kyung Hee University (Science Research Center Program from Korea Science and Engineering Foundation). Y.S.S. was supported by the post-doctoral fellowship program of Brain Korea 21 project.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science