Altered patterns of senescence and ripening in gf, a stay-green mutant of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)

Akhtar, Muhammad Shaheen ; Goldschmidt, Eliezer E. ; John, Isaac ; Rodoni, Simona ; Matile, Philippe ; Grierson, Don

In: Journal of Experimental Botany, 1999, vol. 50, no. 336, p. 1115-1122

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    The gf tomato mutant, which retains chlorophyll during ripening, has been found to be affected in leaf senescence. The leaves of the gf mutant show an absolute stay-green phenotype. As leaf senescence and fruit ripening proceed, there is a marked difference in chlorophyll content between wild-type and gf. In both attached and detached leaf studies, or after treatment with ethylene, the leaves withered and abscised in gf with only slight loss of chlorophyll and carotenoids. Total protein content declined and free amino acids increased during leaf senescence in wild-type and gf, but Western analysis showed that LHCII polypeptides were retained at higher levels in gf. Expression of senescence-related mRNAs increased normally in gf whereas those for cab, rbcS and rbcL declined in both mutant and wild-type. The mutant possesses enzyme activity for chlorophyllase, the formation of phaeophorbide a by the action of Mg-dechelatase and the oxygenolytic opening of the porphyrin macrocycle. Analysis of chlorophyll breakdown products in fruit indicated that gf, like other stay-green mutants, accumulates chlorophyllides a and b, but phaeophorbide a does not accumulate in vivo. This may indicate that, in the mutant, in vivo the action of phaeophorbide a-oxygenase is somehow prevented, either by altered accessibility or transport of components required for thylakoid disassembly or the absence of another factor