Several mutants of tomatoes are known in which the carotene content of the fruit is markedly altered qualitatively and quantitatively from that found in the standard red tomato variety. These selections are: r r (yellow flesh, low carotene); t t (tangerine, orange, proneurosporene and prolycopene); at at (apricot, low in acyclic carotenes); ogcogc(crimson, high in lycopene); Verkerk 377-2αα (probably identical to vircscent orange vo vo, high in ζ-carotene); B B (Hi-β, high in β-carotene), and Del Del (Hi-δ, high in δ-carotenc). Studies of carotene synthesis from [1-14C]isopentenyl pyrophosphate, [14C]phytoene, and [14C]lycopcne by soluble enzyme systems obtained from fruits of these selections have shown unexpected enzyme activities. All selections evidence activity for the synthesis of phytoene. All mutants have also been found to contain an enzyme system for the synthesis of β-carotenefrom lycopene. Three of the selections analyzed (r r, at at, and ogcogc) also contain an enzyme system for the conversion of lycopene to α-carotene and the variants r r and t t contain an enzyme for the synthesis of poly-cis-carotencs from isopentenyl pyrophosphate and phytocne. The reasons for the discrepancies that are observed between carotene composition of fruit of field-grown tomato selections and enzyme activities for carotene synthesis by cell-free preparations obtained from these fruits are not presently known. It is obvious, however, that either inhibitors are present, cofactors are missing, or there are permeability barriers to substrate or cofactor transport into plastids of selections in which enzyme activities are not expressed in field-grown fruit. Further investigations will be required for clarification of this problem. © 1973.
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