Pectin methylesterase inhibitor cDNA from kiwi fruit
We have newly isolated one partial pectin methylesterase inhibitor (PMEI) and two full-length cDNA clones from a kiwi fruit cDNA library. The two full-length cDNA clones, Adpmei-1 and Adpmei-2 , had an open reading frame of 185 amino acids, including a predicted signal peptide sequence necessary for localization in the cell-wall space. As the deduced amino acid sequence of the cloned fragment was almost same as the sequence of the previously purified PMEI protein (Camardella et al., Eur J Biochem 267:4561–4565), the clones were considered to be cDNAs encoding PMEI protein. Southern blot analysis indicated a low-copy number of the PMEI genes. Transgenic analysis of asparagus calli expressing a kiwi fruit PMEI gene driven by the CaMV 35S promoter demonstrated in vivo inhibition effects of PMEI on the endogenous pectin methylesterase (PME) activity. The relative expression levels of the PMEI genes in kiwi fruit, analyzed by competitive PCR, increased with the progression of fruit maturation. Given that PME activity also showed its highest level at the fully ripened stage of maturation, the increase in PMEI expression may not indicate direct inhibitory effects on the PME activity and fruit maturation process.