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Keywords:

  • Auxin;
  • CDKs;
  • Cucumis sativus;
  • cyclins;
  • cytokinin;
  • fruit growth;
  • ploidy

Abstract

We investigated the temporal and spatial changes in cell division, endoreduplication and expression of cell cycle-related genes in developing cucumber fruits at 0–20 days after anthesis (DAA). Cell division was intense at 0–4 DAA and then decreased until to 8 DAA. Meanwhile, endoreduplication started at 4 DAA and increased gradually to 20 DAA, accompanied by an increase in fruit weight. Cell division was mainly observed in the exocarp, while endoreduplication occurred mostly in the endocarp and pulp. Among the six cell cycle-related genes examined, two mitotic cyclin genes (CycA and CycB) and CDKB had the highest transcript levels within 2 DAA, while transcripts of two CycD3 genes and CDKA peaked at 4 DAA and 20 DAA, respectively. Naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-N’-phenylurea (CPPU) and 24-epibrassinolide (EBR) all induced parthenocarpic growth as well as active cell division, and enhanced transcripts of cell cycle-related genes. In comparison, gibberellic acid (GA3) had little effect on the induction of parthenocarpy and transcripts of cell cycle-related genes. These results provide evidence for the important roles of cell division and endoreduplication during cucumber fruit development, and suggest the essential roles of cell cycle-related genes and plant growth substances in fruit development.