Altered cell wall disassembly during ripening of Cnr tomato fruit : implications for cell wall adhesion and fruit softening

C. Orfila, M.M.H. Huisman, W.G.T. Willats, G.J.W.M. van Alebeek, H.A. Schols, G.B. Seymour, J.P. Knox

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71 Citations (Scopus)


The Cnr (Colourless non-ripening) tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) mutant has an aberrant fruit-ripening phenotype in which fruit do not soften and have reduced cell adhesion between pericarp cells. Cell walls from Cnr fruit were analysed in order to assess the possible contribution of pectic polysaccharides to the non-softening and altered cell adhesion phenotype. Cell wall material (CWM) and solubilised fractions of mature green and red ripe fruit were analysed by chemical, enzymatic and immunochemical techniques. No major differences in CWM sugar composition were detected although differences were found in the solubility and composition of the pectic polysaccharides extracted from the CWM at both stages of development. In comparison with the wild type, the ripening-associated solubilisation of homogalacturonan-rich pectic polysaccharides was reduced in Cnr. The proportion of carbohydrate that was chelator-soluble was 50␕ess in Cnr cell walls at both the mature green and red ripe stages. Chelator-soluble material from ripe-stage Cnr was more susceptible to endo-polygalacturonase degradation than the corresponding material from wild-type fruit. In addition, cell walls from Cnr fruit contained larger amounts of galactosyl- and arabinosyl-containing polysaccharides that were tightly bound in the cell wall and could only be extracted with 4 M KOH, or remained in the insoluble residue. The complexity of the cell wall alterations that occur during fruit ripening and the significance of different extractable polymer pools from cell walls are discussed in relation to the Cnr phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-447
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell wall
  • Cnr
  • Fruit ripening
  • Lycopersicon (ripening)
  • Pectin (pectic polysaccharides)


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