Late pear cultivars such as Passe-Crassane (PC) require a long chilling treatment before they are capable of ripening. Early cultivars such as Old-Home (OH) have no cold prerequisite. The regulation of 1-aminocyclopropane-1- carboxylic acid synthase (ACS) genes was studied in OH, PC and in OH x PC hybrids in order to determine the role of this gene family in the cold requirement. Of the seven Pc-ACS cDNAs isolated, four (Pc-ACS1a/b and Pc-ACS2a/b) showed differential expression associated with the cold requirement. Pc-ACS1a transcripts accumulated throughout the cold treatment and, with Pc-ACS2a, during ripening of cold-dependent cultivars. Pc-ACS1b and Pc-ACS2b were detected only during ripening of cold-independent genotypes. Furthermore, Pc-ACS2a transcript accumulation was negatively regulated by ethylene, whereas Pc-ACS2b was positively regulated by the hormone. Pc-ACS3, 4 and 5 transcript accumulation was similar in all genotypes. Genetic analyses of OH, PC, and 22 OH x PC progenies demonstrated that late, cold-dependent cultivars were homozygous for Pc-ACS1a and 2a whereas early, cold-independent cultivars were heterozygous for Pc-ACS1(a/b) and homozygous for Pc-ACS2b. A model is presented in which differences in Pc-ACS alleles and gene expression between cold- and non-cold-requiring pears are critical in determining the ripening behaviour of the cultivars.
- 1-aminocyclopropane-1- carboxylic acid synthase (ACS) alleles
- 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC)
- ACS isoforms
- Cold requirement
- Pear fruit ripening
- System 1 and system 2 ethylene production