Ethylene promotes fruit ripening, including softening. The fruit of melting-flesh peach (Prunus persica (L). Batsch) cultivar ‘Akatsuki ’ produces increasing levels of ethylene, and the flesh firmness softens rapidly during the ripening stage. On the other hand, the fruit of stony hard peach cultivars ‘Yumyeong’, ‘Odoroki’, and ‘Manami ’ does not soften and produces little ethylene during fruit ripening and storage. To clarify the mechanism of suppression of ethylene production in stony hard peaches, the expression patterns of four ethylene biosynthesis enzymes were examined: ACC synthases (Pp-ACS1, Pp-ACS2, and Pp-ACS3) and ACC oxidase (Pp-ACO1). In the meltingflesh cultivar ‘Akatsuki’, Pp-ACS1 mRNA was dramatically induced after harvesting, and a large amount of ethylene was produced. On the other hand, in stony hard peaches, Pp-ACS1 mRNA was not induced during the ripening stage, and ethylene production was inhibited. Since Pp-ACS1 mRNA was induced normally in senescing flowers, wounded leaves, and wounded immature fruit of ‘Yumyeong’, Pp-ACS1 was suppressed only at the ripening stage, and was not a defect in Pp-ACS1. These results indicate that the suppression of fruit softening in stony hard peach cultivars was caused by a low level of ethylene production, which depends on the suppressed expression of Pp-ACS1. Key words: ACC synthase, ethylene, softening, stony hard peach
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