Most previous efforts to isolate genes that are expressed during fruit development have focused on fruit ripening. As a result, information is lacking on fruit genes that are specifically expressed at early developmental stages. Using a cDNA subtraction technique, we isolated fruit-specific genes that are expressed during the cell expansion phase of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) fruit development. One of the isolated cDNAs, LeODD, is transiently expressed 15 days after flowering in a nearly fruit-specific manner during the initial period of cell expansion. Southern blot analysis indicated that LeODD is encoded by a single gene. LeODD is homologous to 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase genes, and the key amino acid residues in the binding sites for ferrous iron and 2-oxoglutarate are completely conserved. The amino acid sequence identity between LeODD and other 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases is relatively low, suggesting that LeODD is a novel enzyme of this family. Another of the isolated cDNAs, LeGLO2, is also highly expressed at 15 days after flowering. LeGLO2 is thought to be a novel glycolate oxidase isoform that functions in fruit. 2-Oxoglutarate, the cosubstrate of LeODD, could be supplied by a LeGLO2-mediated glycolate pathway in immature fruit. The coordinate expression of LeODD and LeGLO2 may play a role in the biosynthesis of a metabolite, such as a plant hormone or secondary metabolite, that is required during the initial period of the cell expansion phase of fruit development.
- 2-0xoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase
- Glycolate oxidase
- Lycopersicon esculentum