Molecular analysis of the hull-less seed trait in pumpkin: expression profiles of genes related to seed coat development11


We undertook a comparative study of molecular changes during development of seed coats in the wild-type and a recessive hull-less mutant of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.), with the goal of identifying key genes involved in secondary cell wall development in the testa. The mature mutant testa has reduced amounts of cellulose and lignin as compared to the wild type. The expression patterns of several genes involved in secondary cell wall biosynthesis during the development of the testa are described. These genes are: CELLULOSE SYNTHASE, PHENYLALANINE AMMONIA-LYASE, 4-COUMARATE-CoA LIGASE, and CINNAMOYL-CoA REDUCTASE. Additionally, the expression patterns of a few genes that were differentially expressed in the two genotypes during testa development (GLUTATHIONE REDUCTASE, ABSCISIC ACID RESPONSE PROTEIN E, a SERINE-THREONINE KINASE, and a β-UREIDOPROPIONASE) are presented. The results show a coordinated expression of several genes involved in cellulose and lignin biosynthesis, as well as marked differences in the level of their expression between the two genotypes during testa development. There is generally a higher expression of genes involved in cellulose and lignin biosynthesis in the wild-type testa as compared to the mutant. The molecular data presented here are consistent with anatomical and biochemical differences between the wild-type and the mutant testae. An understanding of the genes involved in cell wall development in the testa will facilitate the manipulation of seed coat development in Cucurbita and other species for diverse commercial applications.

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Seed Science Research


Cambridge University Press

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