Two divergent genes encoding fructokinase, Frk1 and Frk2, have been previously shown to be expressed in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) and have now been further characterized with regard to their spatial expression and the enzymic properties of the encoded proteins. Frk1 and Frk2 mRNA levels were coordinately induced by exogenous sugar, indicating that both belong to the growing class of sugar-regulated genes. However, in situ hybridization indicated that Frk1 and Frk2 were expressed in a spatially distinct manner, with Frk2 mRNA primarily localized in cells of the fruit pericarp, which store starch, and Frk1 mRNA distributed ubiquitously in pericarp tissue. To evaluate the biochemical characteristics of the products of the Frk1 and Frk2 genes, each cDNA was expressed in a mutant yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) line defective in hexose phosphorylation and unable to grow on glucose or fructose (Fru). Both Frk1 and Frk2 proteins expressed in yeast conferred the ability to grow on Fru and exhibited fructokinase activity in vitro. Although both Frk1 and Frk2 both utilized Fru as a substrate, only Frk2 activity was inhibited at high Fru concentrations. These results indicate that Frk2 can be distinguished from Frk1 by its sensitivity to substrate inhibition and by its temporal and spatial pattern of expression, which suggests that it plays a primary role in plant cells specialized for starch storage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science