Plant & cell physiology

Cloning of gibberellin 3 beta-hydroxylase cDNA and analysis of endogenous gibberellins in the developing seeds in watermelon.

PMID 11867694


We have isolated Cv3h, a cDNA clone from the developing seeds of watermelon, and have demonstrated significant amino acid homology with gibberellin (GA) 3 beta-hydroxylases. This cDNA clone was expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein that oxidized GA(9) and GA(12) to GA(4) and GA(14), respectively. The Cv3h protein had the highest similarity with pumpkin GA 2 beta,3 beta-hydroxylase, but did not possess 2 beta-hydroxylation function. RNA blot analysis showed that the gene was expressed primarily in the inner parts of developing seeds, up to 10 d after pollination (DAP). In the parthenocarpic fruits induced by treatment with 1-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-3-phenylurea (CPPU), the embryo and endosperm of the seeds were undeveloped, whereas the integumental tissues, of maternal origin, showed nearly normal development. Cv3h mRNA was undetectable in the seeds of CPPU-treated fruits, indicating that the GA 3 beta-hydroxylase gene was expressed in zygotic cells. In our analysis of endogenous GAs from developing seeds, GA(9) and GA(4) were detected at high levels but those of GA(20) and GA(1) were very low. This demonstrates that GA biosynthesis in seeds prefers a non-13-hydroxylation pathway over an early 13-hydroxylation pathway. We also analyzed endogenous GAs from seeds of the parthenocarpic fruits. The level of bioactive GA(4 )was much lower there than in normal seeds, indicating that bioactive GAs, unconnected with Cv3h, exist in integumental tissues during early seed development.