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Article|18 May 2016|OPEN
Assessing the allelotypic effect of two aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid synthase-encoding genes MdACS1 and MdACS3a on fruit ethylene production and softening in Malus
Laura Dougherty1 , Yuandi Zhu1 and Kenong Xu,1 ,
1Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 3,
Article number: 24 (2016)
Views: 716

Received: 05 Mar 2016
Revised: 10 Apr 2016
Accepted: 11 Apr 2016
Published online: 18 May 2016


Phytohormone ethylene largely determines apple fruit shelf life and storability. Previous studies demonstrated that MdACS1 and MdACS3a, which encode 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthases (ACS), are crucial in apple fruit ethylene production. MdACS1 is well-known to be intimately involved in the climacteric ethylene burst in fruit ripening, while MdACS3a has been regarded a main regulator for ethylene production transition from system 1 (during fruit development) to system 2 (during fruit ripening). However, MdACS3a was also shown to have limited roles in initiating the ripening process lately. To better assess their roles, fruit ethylene production and softening were evaluated at five time points during a 20-day post-harvest period in 97 Malus accessions and in 34 progeny from 2 controlled crosses. Allelotyping was accomplished using an existing marker (ACS1) for MdACS1 and two markers (CAPS866 and CAPS870) developed here to specifically detect the two null alleles (ACS3a-G289V and Mdacs3a) of MdACS3a. In total, 952 Malus accessions were allelotyped with the three markers. The major findings included: The effect of MdACS1 was significant on fruit ethylene production and softening while that of MdACS3a was less detectable; allele MdACS1–2 was significantly associated with low ethylene and slow softening; under the same background of the MdACS1 allelotypes, null allele Mdacs3a (not ACS3a-G289V) could confer a significant delay of ethylene peak; alleles MdACS1–2 and Mdacs3a (excluding ACS3a-G289V) were highly enriched in M. domestica and M. hybrid when compared with those in M. sieversii. These findings are of practical implications in developing apples of low and delayed ethylene profiles by utilizing the beneficial alleles MdACS1-2 and Mdacs3a.