A fruit-specific phospho enolpyruvate carboxylase is related to rapid growth of tomato fruit

Planta. 2002 Mar;214(5):717-26. doi: 10.1007/s00425-001-0687-z. Epub 2001 Nov 21.


Malic and citric acids accumulate in cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit during the period of rapid growth, from the end of cell division to the onset of ripening. The involvement of phospho enolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase, EC in organic acid accumulation and tomato fruit development was investigated. Two PEPCases, named LYCes;Ppc1 and LYCes;Ppc2 and mapped to chromosomes 12 and 7, respectively, were shown to be differentially expressed during tomato fruit development. LYCes;Ppc1 mRNA was present in all fruit tissues and in all other plant organs examined. In contrast, LYCes;Ppc2 was strongly and specifically expressed in fruit from the end of cell division to ripening. No LYCes;Ppc2 expression was detected by northern blot in other plant tissues. In fruit, the increase in LYCes;Ppc2 mRNA was closely followed by an increase in fruit PEPCase protein and activity, and was coincident with the increased accumulation of malate and citrate during the initial period of rapid growth rate, from 8 to 20 days post anthesis. Localization of LYCes;Ppc2 mRNA in young tomato fruit by in situ hybridization revealed that LYCes;Ppc2 is preferentially expressed in large cells of the pericarp and in enlarging cells of the gel surrounding the seeds. Examination of the kinetic and regulatory properties of the PEPCases of growing and ripening fruit further showed that PEPCase in growing fruit is less sensitive to low pH and malate inhibition, indicating a high phosphorylation state and/or the presence of a PEPCase isoform with these characteristics. Taken together, these results indicate that in developing tomato fruit PEPCase is probably important in permitting the synthesis of organic acids to provide the turgor pressure necessary for cell expansion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Citric Acid / metabolism
  • Fruit / enzymology*
  • Fruit / genetics
  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase / genetics*
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Solanum lycopersicum / enzymology*
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics
  • Solanum lycopersicum / growth & development


  • Isoenzymes
  • Malates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Citric Acid
  • malic acid
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase