In this study the occurrence of a number of enzymes involved in gluconeogenesis was investigated in both tomato fruits and leaves during their development and senescence and in some other fruits. The enzymes studied were phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK) and glyoxysomal isocitrate lyase (ICL). PPDK was detected in the ripe flesh of tomato, and much smaller amounts were detected in the flesh of both peach and pepper, whereas it was not detected (not present or at very low abundance) in the other fruits which were investigated (apricot, aubergine, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, grape, plum, raspberry and red current). By contrast PEPCK was present in the flesh of all the fruits investigated. Very small amounts of ICL were detected in ripe tomato flesh. PEPCK was present in the skin, flesh, locular gel and columella of tomato fruit, and in these its abundance increased greatly during ripening. PPDK showed a similar distribution, however, its abundance did not increase during ripening. PEPCK was not detected in tomato leaves at any stage of their development or senescence. The content of PPDK g−1 fresh weight (FW) increased in tomato leaves as they matured, however, it declined during their senescence. In tomato leaves the content of ICL g−1 FW increased until the mid-stage of development, then decreased as the leaf matured, and then increased during the latter stages of senescence. In the flesh of tomato fruits the contents of PPDK and PEPCK g−1 FW decreased during senescence. The results suggest that in fruits other than tomato the bulk of any gluconeogenic flux proceeds via PEPCK, whereas in tomato both PEPCK and PPDK could potentially be utilised. Further, the results indicate that the conversion of pyruvate/acetyl-CoA to malate by the glyoxylate cycle, for which ICL is necessary, is not a major pathway utilised by gluconeogenesis in fruits under normal conditions of growth. Finally, the results contribute to our understanding of the role of several enzymes in the senescence of both leaves and fruits.
- Isocitrate lyase
- Pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase