Background: In Arabidopsis, ETO1 (ETHYLENE-OVERPRODUCER1) is a negative regulator of ethylene evolution by interacting with AtACS5, an isoform of the rate-limiting enzyme, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthases (ACC synthase or ACS), in ethylene biosynthetic pathway. ETO1 directly inhibits the enzymatic activity of AtACS5. In addition, a specific interaction between ETO1 and AtCUL3, a constituent of a new type of E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, suggests the molecular mechanism in promoting AtACS5 degradation by the proteasome-dependent pathway. Because orthologous sequences to ETO1 are found in many plant species including tomato, we transformed tomato with Arabidopsis ETO1 to evaluate its ability to suppress ethylene production in tomato fruits.
Results: Transgenic tomato lines that overexpress Arabidopsis ETO1 (ETO1-OE) did not show a significant delay of fruit ripening. So, we performed yeast two-hybrid assays to investigate potential heterologous interaction between ETO1 and three isozymes of ACC synthases from tomato. In the yeast two-hybrid system, ETO1 interacts with LE-ACS3 as well as AtACS5 but not with LE-ACS2 or LE-ACS4, two major isozymes whose gene expression is induced markedly in ripening fruits. According to the classification of ACC synthases, which is based on the C-terminal amino acid sequences, both LE-ACS3 and AtACS5 are categorized as type 2 isozymes and possess a consensus C-terminal sequence. In contrast, LE-ACS2 and LE-ACS4 are type 1 and type 3 isozymes, respectively, both of which do not possess this specific C-terminal sequence. Yeast two-hybrid analysis using chimeric constructs between LE-ACS2 and LE-ACS3 revealed that the type-2-ACS-specific C-terminal tail is required for interaction with ETO1. When treated with auxin to induce LE-ACS3, seedlings of ETO1-OE produced less ethylene than the wild type, despite comparable expression of the LE-ACS3 gene in the wild type.
Conclusion: These results suggest that ETO1 family proteins specifically interact with and negatively regulate type 2 ACC synthases. Our data also show that Arabidopsis ETO1 can regulate type 2 ACS in a heterologous plant, tomato.