Characterization of ethylene effects on sex determination in cucumber plants

Seiji Yamasaki, Nobuharu Fujii, Hideyuki Takahashi

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Sex differentiation in cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus L.) appears to be determined by the selective arrest of the stamen or pistil primordia. We investigated the influence of an ethylene-releasing agent (ethephon) or an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis (aminoethoxyvinyl glycine) on sex differentiation in different developmental stages of flower buds. These treatments influence sex determination only at the stamen primordia differentiation stage in both monoecious and gynoecious cucumbers. To clarify the relationships between the ethylene-producing tissues and the ethylene-perceiving tissues in inducing female flowers in the cucumber, we examined the localization of mRNA accumulation of both the ACC synthase gene (CS-ACS2) and the ethylene-receptor-related genes (CS-ETR1, CS-ETR2, and CS-ERS) in flower buds by in situ hybridization analysis. CS-ACS2 mRNA was detected in the pistil primordia of gynoecious cucumbers, whereas it was located in the tissues just below the pistil primordia and at the adaxial side of the petals in monoecious cucumbers. In flower buds of andromonoecious cucumbers, only CS-ETR1 mRNA was detected, and was located in the pistil primordia. The localization of the mRNAs of the three ethylene-receptor-related genes in the flower buds of monoecious and gynoecious cucumbers overlap but are not identical. We discuss the relationship between the mRNA accumulation patterns and sex expression in cucumber plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalSexual Plant Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Sept


  • ACC synthase
  • Cucumber (cucumis sativus)
  • Ethylene
  • Ethylene-receptor-related genes
  • Sex expression


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