Modifications to the cell wall of developing and ripening tomato fruit are mediated by cell wall-degrading enzymes, including a beta-d-xylosidase or alpha-l-arabinofuranosidase, which participate in the breakdown of xylans and/or arabinoxylans. The activity of both enzymes was highest during early fruit growth, before decreasing during later development and ripening. Two beta-d-xylosidase cDNAs, designated LeXYL1 and LeXYL2, and an alpha-l-arabinofuranosidase cDNA, designated LeARF1, were obtained. Accumulation of mRNAs for beta-d-xylosidase and alpha-l-arabinofuranosidase was examined during fruit development and ripening. LeARF1 and LeXYL2 genes were relatively highly expressed during fruit development and decreased after the onset of ripening. By contrast, LeXYL1 was not expressed during fruit development, but was expressed later, particularly during over-ripening. The expression of all three genes was also followed in ripening-impaired mutants, Nr, Nr2, nor, and rin of cv. Ailsa Craig fruit. LeXYL2 mRNA was detected in the ripe fruits of all the mutants and its abundance was similar to that in mature green wild-type fruit. By contrast, LEXYL1 mRNA was expressed only in the ripe fruits of the Nr mutant, suggesting that the two beta-d-xylosidase genes are subject to distinct regulatory control during fruit development and ripening. LeARF1 mRNA was detected in ripe fruits of Nr2, nor and rin, and not in ripe fruit of the Nr mutant. The accumulation of LeARF1 in ripe fruit was restored by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), an inhibitor of ethylene action, while 1-MCP had no effect on the expression of LeXYL1 or LeXYL2. This suggests that LeARF1 expression is subject to negative regulation by ethylene and that the two beta-d-xylosidase genes are independent of ethylene action.