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Ethylene-Inhibition of the Expression of a Chlorophyll a/b Binding (CAB) Protein from Peach

A ripening fruit undergoes many processes, including the production of ethylene, chlorophyll degradation, a loss of flesh firmness, and an increase in sugar content. Chlorophyll catabolism (de-greening) is significant because of its economic importance related to shelf life and taste of the fruit. Ethylene indirectly controls this process by regulating genes coding for components associated with the light reactions of photosynthesis. Of these components, the chlorophyll a/b-binding (CAB) proteins have been most extensively studied. This family of proteins serves a wide variety of purposes, including the regulatory function of light energy direction in the photosystems and the protection of light harvesting complexes upon exposure to intense light.


Jonathan Gilkerson, undergraduate research student from 2002-2004, in collaboration with Dr. Carole Basset (Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, WV) studied ethylene regulation of CAB expression. He evaluated CAB expression in Arabidopsis plants transiently transformed  by particle bombardment, and stably transformed tomato plants using a DNA construct composed of the regulatory region of the CAB gene (promoter) fused to a reporter gene. Overall, his results suggested that this peach type II chlorophyll a/b binding protein gene is not regulated by exogenous ethylene. However, results from transient expression assays demonstrate that wound ethylene resulting from the bombardment procedure interferes with expression when the CAB promoter is driving gene expression. Jonathan presented his work at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists, Honolulu, HI. Jonathan received his Ph.D. from the Plant Biology Department at the University of California, Davis and is a Postdoctoral scholar, Salk Institute, San Diego, CA.



Gilkerson, J.G., J.A. Kelley, and M.A. Harrison. 2009. Evaluation of ethylene production in tobacco and Arabidopsis induced by particle bombardment.


Gilkerson, J. and M. A. Harrison. 2003. Regulation of a Peach Type II Chlorophyll a/b-binding Protein Gene by Exogenous Ethylene. Plant Biology 2003: 147. Poster at the American Society of Plant Biologists meeting, Honolulu, HI.