Fruit ripening involves a series of changes in gene expression regulated by the phytohormone ethylene. AVOe3, a ripening-related gene in avocado fruit (Persea americana Mill. cv Hass), was characterized with regard to its ethylene-regulated expression. The AVOe3 mRNA and immunopositive protein were induced in mature fruit within 12 hours of propylene treatment. The AVOe3 mRNA levels reached a maximum 1 to 2 days before the ethylene climacteric, whereas the immunopositive protein continued to accumulate. RNA selected by the pAVOe3 cDNA clone encoded a polypeptide with molecular mass of 34 kilodaltons, corresponding to the molecular mass of the AVOe3 protein determined by immunoblots. The protein was soluble, remaining in solution at 100,000 gravity and eluted as a monomer on gel filtration. Because of its pattern of induction and relationship to an ethylene-related gene of tomato, the possible involvement of AVOe3 in ethylene biosynthesis is discussed.
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