Ethylene plays a dual role in sex determination and fruit shape in cucurbits.
IF: 10.900
Cited by: 4


Shapes of vegetables and fruits are the result of adaptive evolution and human selection. Modules controlling organ shape have been identified. However, little is known about signals coordinating organ development and shape. Here, we describe the characterization of a melon mutation rf1, leading to round fruit. Histological analysis of rf1 flower and fruits revealed fruit shape is determined at flower stage 8, after sex determination and before flower fertilization. Using positional cloning, we identified the causal gene as the monoecy sex determination gene CmACS7, and survey of melon germplasms showed strong association between fruit shape and sexual types. We show that CmACS7-mediated ethylene production in carpel primordia enhances cell expansion and represses cell division, leading to elongated fruit. Cell size is known to rise as a result of endoreduplication. At stage 8 and anthesis, we found no variation in ploidy levels between female and hermaphrodite flowers, ruling out endoreduplication as a factor in fruit shape determination. To pinpoint the gene networks controlling elongated versus round fruit phenotype, we analyzed the transcriptomes of laser capture microdissected carpels of wild-type and rf1 mutant. These high-resolution spatiotemporal gene expression dynamics revealed the implication of two regulatory modules. The first module implicates E2F-DP transcription factors, controlling cell elongation versus cell division. The second module implicates OVATE- and TRM5-related proteins, controlling cell division patterns. Our finding highlights the dual role of ethylene in the inhibition of the stamina development and the elongation of ovary and fruit in cucurbits.


Temporal Gene Expression
Cucumis melo
carpel primordia
cell expansion
fruit shape
laser capture microdissection
ovary shape
sex determination
unisexual flowers

MeSH terms

Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
Plant Proteins


Boualem, Adnane
Berthet, Serge
Devani, Ravi Sureshbhai
Camps, Celine
Fleurier, Sebastien
Morin, Halima
Troadec, Christelle
Giovinazzo, Nathalie
Sari, Nebahat
Dogimont, Catherine
Bendahmane, Abdelhafid

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