Involvement of ethylene biosynthesis and signalling in fruit set and early fruit development in zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.)

Autores UPV
Revista BMC Plant Biology


We have compared the production of ethylene as well as the expression of 13 ethylene biosynthesis and signalling genes in pollinated and unpollinated ovaries/fruits of two cultivars, one of which is parthenocarpic (Cavili), while the other is non-parthenocarpic (Tosca). In the latter, unpollinated ovaries show an induction of ethylene biosynthesis and ethylene signal transduction pathway genes three days after anthesis, which is concomitant with the initiation of fruit abortion and senescence. Fruit set and early fruit development in pollinated flowers of both cultivars and unpollinated flowers of Cavili is coupled with low ethylene biosynthesis and signalling, which would also explain the partial andromonoecy in the parthenocarpic genotype. The reduction of ethylene production in the ovary cosegregates with parthenocarpy and partial andromonoecy in the selfing progeny of Cavili. Moreover, the induction of ethylene in anthesis (by ethephon treatments) reduced the percentage of bisexual parthenocarpic flowers in Cavili, while the inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis or response (by AVG and STS treatments) induces not only andromonoecy but also the parthenocarpic development of the fruit in both cultivars.