Background: Gene expression in Petunia inflata petals undergoes major changes following compatible pollination. Severe flower wilting occurs reproducibly within 36 hours, providing an excellent model for investigation of petal senescence and programmed cell death. Expression of a number of genes and various enzyme activities involved in the degradation and remobilization of macromolecules have been found to be upregulated during the early stages of petal senescence. Results: By performing differential display of cDNAs during Petunia inflata petal senescence, a highly upregulated gene encoding a cytochrome P450 was identified. Analysis of the complete cDNA sequence revealed that the predicted protein is a member of the CYP74C family (CYP74C9) and is highly similar to a tomato CYP74C allene oxide synthase (AOS) that is known to be active on 9-hydroperoxides. Cloning of the petunia genomic DNA revealed an intronless gene with a promoter region that carries signals found in stress-responsive genes and potential binding sites for Myb transcription factors. Transcripts were present at detectable levels in root and stem, but were 40 times more abundant in flowers 36 hours after pollination. Ethylene and jasmonate treatment resulted in transitory increases in expression in detached flowers. A protein fusion of the CYP74C coding region to a C-terminal GFP was found to be located in the tonoplast. Conclusion: Though oxylipins, particularly jasmonates, are known to be involved in stress responses, the role of other products of CYP74 enzymes is less well understood. The identification of a CYP74C family member as a highly upregulated gene during petal senescence suggests that additional products of fatty acid metabolism may play important roles during programmed cell death. In contrast to the chloroplast localization of AOS proteins in the CYP74A subfamily, GFP fusion data indicates that the petunia CYP74C9 enzyme is in the tonoplast. This result suggests that the highly similar CYP74C enzymes that have been identified in two other Solanaceous plants may also be associated with the vacuole, an organelle known to have a prominent role in programmed cell death.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science