The patatin gene is the best known "tuberspecific" gene of potato (Solanum tuberosum). Patatin is encoded by a multigene family that can be divided into two classes. Class I genes are highly expressed in tubers and are sucrose inducible, while class II genes are under developmental control and are expressed mainly in root tips. Here we report the isolation and characterization of cDNA clones corresponding to a patatin gene of the non-tuberizing Solanum species S. brevidens. We show that the gene is 94-100% homologous to the class I type patatin genes of S. tuberosum; the homology includes the sequences in the 5′ and the 3′ untranslated regions. However, the patatin gene of S. brevidens is regulated like class II type patatin genes and cannot be transcriptionally activated by elevated levels of sucrose. This result further supports the idea that the components required for tuberization may be present in non-tuberizing solanaceous plants, but are regulated differently.
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