ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Many fruits, including watermelon, are proficient in carotenoid accumulation during ripening. While most genes encoding steps in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway have been cloned, few transcriptional regulators of these genes have been defined to date. Here we describe the identification of a set of putative carotenoid-related transcription factors resulting from fresh watermelon carotenoid and transcriptome analysis during fruit development and ripening. Our goal is to both clarify the expression profiles of carotenoid pathway genes and to identify candidate regulators and molecular targets for crop improvement. RESULTS: Total carotenoids progressively increased during fruit ripening up to ~55 ?g g(-1) fw in red-ripe fruits. Trans-lycopene was the carotenoid that contributed most to this increase. Many of the genes related to carotenoid metabolism displayed changing expression levels during fruit ripening generating a metabolic flux toward carotenoid synthesis. Constitutive low expression of lycopene cyclase genes resulted in lycopene accumulation. RNA-seq expression profiling of watermelon fruit development yielded a set of transcription factors whose expression was correlated with ripening and carotenoid accumulation. Nineteen putative transcription factor genes from watermelon and homologous to tomato carotenoid-associated genes were identified. Among these, six were differentially expressed in the flesh of both species during fruit development and ripening. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together the data suggest that, while the regulation of a common set of metabolic genes likely influences carotenoid synthesis and accumulation in watermelon and tomato fruits during development and ripening, specific and limiting regulators may differ between climacteric and non-climacteric fruits, possibly related to their differential susceptibility to and use of ethylene during ripening.
Project description:In climacteric fruit-bearing species, the onset of fruit ripening is marked by a transient rise in respiration rate and autocatalytic ethylene production, followed by rapid deterioration in fruit quality. In non-climacteric species, there is no increase in respiration or ethylene production at the beginning or during fruit ripening. Melon is unusual in having climacteric and non-climacteric varieties, providing an interesting model system to compare both ripening types. Transcriptomic analysis of developing melon fruits from Védrantais and Dulce (climacteric) and Piel de sapo and PI 161375 (non-climacteric) varieties was performed to understand the molecular mechanisms that differentiate the two fruit ripening types.Fruits were harvested at 15, 25, 35 days after pollination and at fruit maturity. Transcript profiling was performed using an oligo-based microarray with 75 K probes. Genes linked to characteristic traits of fruit ripening were differentially expressed between climacteric and non-climacteric types, as well as several transcription factor genes and genes encoding enzymes involved in sucrose catabolism. The expression patterns of some genes in PI 161375 fruits were either intermediate between. Piel de sapo and the climacteric varieties, or more similar to the latter. PI 161375 fruits also accumulated some carotenoids, a characteristic trait of climacteric varieties.Simultaneous changes in transcript abundance indicate that there is coordinated reprogramming of gene expression during fruit development and at the onset of ripening in both climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. The expression patterns of genes related to ethylene metabolism, carotenoid accumulation, cell wall integrity and transcriptional regulation varied between genotypes and was consistent with the differences in their fruit ripening characteristics. There were differences between climacteric and non-climacteric varieties in the expression of genes related to sugar metabolism suggesting that they may be potential determinants of sucrose content and post-harvest stability of sucrose levels in fruit. Several transcription factor genes were also identified that were differentially expressed in both types, implicating them in regulation of ripening behaviour. The intermediate nature of PI 161375 suggested that classification of melon fruit ripening behaviour into just two distinct types is an over-simplification, and that in reality there is a continuous spectrum of fruit ripening behaviour.
Project description:The MADS-box transcription factors play essential roles in many physiological and biochemical processes of plants, especially in fruit ripening. Here, a tomato MADS-box gene, SlCMB1, was isolated. SlCMB1 expression declined with the fruit ripening from immature green to B?+?7 (7 days after Breaker) fruits in the wild type (WT) and was lower in Nr and rin mutants fruits. Tomato plants with reduced SlCMB1 mRNA displayed delayed fruit ripening, reduced ethylene production and carotenoid accumulation. The ethylene production in SlCMB1-RNAi fruits decreased by approximately 50% as compared to WT. The transcripts of ethylene biosynthesis genes (ACS2, ACS4, ACO1 and ACO3), ethylene-responsive genes (E4, E8 and ERF1) and fruit ripening-related genes (RIN, TAGL1, FUL1, FUL2, LoxC and PE) were inhibited in SlCMB1-RNAi fruits. The carotenoid accumulation was decreased and two carotenoid synthesis-related genes (PSY1 and PDS) were down-regulated while three lycopene cyclase genes (CYCB, LCYB and LCYE) were up-regulated in transgenic fruits. Furthermore, yeast two-hybrid assay showed that SlCMB1 could interact with SlMADS-RIN, SlMADS1, SlAP2a and TAGL1, respectively. Collectively, these results indicate that SlCMB1 is a new component to the current model of regulatory network that regulates ethylene biosynthesis and carotenoid accumulation during fruit ripening.
Project description:Carotenoids are the main pigments responsible of the colouration of Citrus fruits. The beta-cyclization of lycopene, catalysed by the lycopene beta-cyclases (beta-LCY), seems to be a key regulatory step of the carotenoid pathway. In the present study, two beta-LCYs from orange fruits (Citrus sinensis), named Csbeta-LCY1 and Csbeta-LCY2 have been isolated and the activity of the encoded proteins was demonstrated by functional analysis. Csbeta-LCY1 was expressed at low levels and remained relatively constant during fruit ripening while Csbeta-LCY2 showed a chromoplast-specific expression and a marked induction in both peel and pulp of orange fruits in parallel with the accumulation of beta,beta-xanthophylls. The potential involvement of Csbeta-LCY2 in the accumulation of lycopene, characteristic of some Citrus species such as red grapefruits, was investigated. Expression of Csbeta-LCY2 and another seven carotenoid biosynthetic genes were studied in the peel and pulp of the high lycopene-accumulating grapefruit, Star Ruby, and compared with those of ordinary Navel orange. In Star Ruby, the accumulation of lycopene during fruit maturation was associated with a substantial reduction in the expression of both beta-LCY2 and beta-CHX genes with respect to Navel orange. Moreover, two different alleles of beta-LCY2: beta-LCY2a and beta-LCY2b were isolated from both genotypes, and functional assays demonstrated that the lycopene beta-cyclase activity of the allele b was almost null. Interestingly, Star Ruby grapefruit predominantly expressed the unfunctional beta-LCY2b allele during fruit ripening whereas Navel oranges preferably expressed the functional allele. It is suggested that the presence of diverse alleles of the beta-LCY2 gene, encoding enzymes with altered activity, with different transcript accumulation may be an additional regulatory mechanism of carotenoid synthesis involved in the accumulation of lycopene in red grapefruits.
Project description:Abscisic acid (ABA) plays important roles during tomato fruit ripening. To study the regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis by ABA, the SlNCED1 gene encoding 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED), a key enzyme in the ABA biosynthesis, was suppressed in tomato plants by transformation with an RNA interference (RNAi) construct driven by a fruit-specific E8 promoter. ABA accumulation and SlNCED1 transcript levels in the transgenic fruit were down-regulated to between 20-50% of that in control fruit. This significant reduction in NCED activity led to the carbon that normally channels to free ABA as well as the ABA metabolite accumulation during ripening to be partially blocked. Therefore, this 'backlogged' carbon transformed into the carotenoid pathway in the RNAi lines resulted in increased assimilation and accumulation of upstream compounds in the pathway, chiefly lycopene and ?-carotene. Fruit of all RNAi lines displayed deep red coloration compared with the pink colour of control fruit. The decrease in endogenous ABA in these transgenics resulted in an increase in ethylene, by increasing the transcription of genes related to the synthesis of ethylene during ripening. In conclusion, ABA potentially regulated the degree of pigmentation and carotenoid composition during ripening and could control, at least in part, ethylene production and action in climacteric tomato fruit.
Project description:Ethylene is crucial in climacteric fruit ripening. The ethylene signal pathway regulates several physiological alterations such as softening, carotenoid accumulation and sugar level reduction, and production of volatile compounds. All these physiological processes are controlled by numerous genes and their expression simultaneously changes at the onset of ripening. Ethylene insensitive 2 (EIN2) is a key component for ethylene signal transduction, and its mutation causes ethylene insensitivity. In tomato, silencing SlEIN2 resulted in a non-ripening phenotype and low ethylene production. RNA sequencing of SlEIN2-silenced and wild type tomato, and differential gene expression analyses, indicated that silencing SlEIN2 caused changes in more than 4,000 genes, including those related to photosynthesis, defense, and secondary metabolism. The relative expression level of 28 genes covering ripening-associated transcription factors, ethylene biosynthesis, ethylene signal pathway, chlorophyll binding proteins, lycopene and aroma biosynthesis, and defense pathway, showed that SlEIN2 influences ripening inhibitor (RIN) in a feedback loop, thus controlling the expression of several other genes. SlEIN2 regulates many aspects of fruit ripening, and is a key factor in the ethylene signal transduction pathway. Silencing SlEIN2 ultimately results in lycopene biosynthesis inhibition, which is the reason why tomato does not turn red, and this gene also affects the expression of several defense-associated genes. Although SlEIN2-silenced and green wild type fruits are similar in appearance, their metabolism is significantly different at the molecular level.
Project description:Carotenoid pigments in plants fulfill indispensable functions in photosynthesis. Carotenoids that accumulate as secondary metabolites in chromoplasts provide distinct coloration to flowers and fruits. In this work we investigated the genetic mechanisms that regulate accumulation of carotenoids as secondary metabolites during ripening of tomato fruits. We analyzed two mutations that affect fruit pigmentation in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum): Beta (B), a single dominant gene that increases beta-carotene in the fruit, and old-gold (og), a recessive mutation that abolishes beta-carotene and increases lycopene. Using a map-based cloning approach we cloned the genes B and og. Molecular analysis revealed that B encodes a novel type of lycopene beta-cyclase, an enzyme that converts lycopene to beta-carotene. The amino acid sequence of B is similar to capsanthin-capsorubin synthase, an enzyme that produces red xanthophylls in fruits of pepper (Capsicum annum). Our results prove that beta-carotene is synthesized de novo during tomato fruit development by the B lycopene cyclase. In wild-type tomatoes B is expressed at low levels during the breaker stage of ripening, whereas in the Beta mutant its transcription is dramatically increased. Null mutations in the gene B are responsible for the phenotype in og, indicating that og is an allele of B. These results confirm that developmentally regulated transcription is the major mechanism that governs lycopene accumulation in ripening fruits. The cloned B genes can be used in various genetic manipulations toward altering pigmentation and enhancing nutritional value of plant foods.
Project description:Carotenoids are important pigments and precursors for central signaling molecules associated in fruit development and ripening. Carotenoid metabolism has been studied especially in the climacteric tomato fruit but the content of carotenoids and the regulation of their metabolism have been shown to be highly variable between fruit species. Non-climacteric berries of the genus Vaccinium are among the best natural sources of health-beneficial flavonoids but not studied previously for carotenoid biosynthesis.In this study, carotenoid biosynthetic genes, PSY, PDS, ZDS, CRTISO, LCYB, LCYE, BCH and CYP450-BCH, as well as a carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase CCD1 were identified from bilberry (V. myrtillus L.) fruit and their expression was studied along with carotenoid composition during fruit development under different photoperiod and light quality conditions. Bilberry was found to be a good source of carotenoids among fruits and berries. The most abundant carotenoids throughout the berry development were lutein and ?-carotene, which were accompanied by lower amounts of 9Z-?-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, antheraxanthin and ?-cryptoxanthin. The expression patterns of the biosynthetic genes in ripening fruits indicated a metabolic flux towards ?-branch of the carotenoid pathway. However, the carotenoid levels decreased in both the ?-branch and ?,?-branch towards bilberry fruit ripening along with increased VmCCD1 expression, similarly to VmNCED1, indicating enzymatic carotenoid cleavage and degradation. Intense white light conditions increased the expression of the carotenoid biosynthetic genes but also the expression of the cleavage genes VmCCD1 and VmNCED1, especially in unripe fruits. Instead, mature bilberry fruits responded specifically to red/far-red light wavelengths by inducing the expression of both the carotenoid biosynthetic and the cleavage genes indicating tissue and developmental stage specific regulation of apocarotenoid formation by light quality.This is the first report of carotenoid biosynthesis in Vaccinium berries. Our results indicate that both transcriptional regulation of the key biosynthetic genes and the enzymatic degradation of the produced carotenoids to apocarotenoids have significant roles in the determination of the carotenoid content and have overall effect on the metabolism during the bilberry fruit ripening.
Project description:Watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] is an important vegetable crop world-wide. Watermelon fruit quality is a complex trait determined by various factors such as sugar content, flesh color and flesh texture. Fruit quality and developmental process of cultivated and wild watermelon are highly different. To systematically understand the molecular basis of these differences, we compared transcriptome profiles of fruit tissues of cultivated watermelon 97103 and wild watermelon PI296341-FR. We identified 2,452, 826 and 322 differentially expressed genes in cultivated flesh, cultivated mesocarp and wild flesh, respectively, during fruit development. Gene ontology enrichment analysis of these genes indicated that biological processes and metabolic pathways related to fruit quality such as sweetness and flavor were significantly changed only in the flesh of 97103 during fruit development, while those related to abiotic stress response were changed mainly in the flesh of PI296341-FR. Our comparative transcriptome profiling analysis identified critical genes potentially involved in controlling fruit quality traits including ?-galactosidase, invertase, UDP-galactose/glucose pyrophosphorylase and sugar transporter genes involved in the determination of fruit sugar content, phytoene synthase, ?-carotene hydroxylase, 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase and carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase genes involved in carotenoid metabolism, and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase, cellulose synthase, pectinesterase, pectinesterase inhibitor, polygalacturonase inhibitor and ?-mannosidase genes involved in the regulation of flesh texture. In addition, we found that genes in the ethylene biosynthesis and signaling pathway including ACC oxidase, ethylene receptor and ethylene responsive factor showed highly ripening-associated expression patterns, indicating a possible role of ethylene in fruit development and ripening of watermelon, a non-climacteric fruit. Our analysis provides novel insights into watermelon fruit quality and ripening biology. Furthermore, the comparative expression profile data we developed provides a valuable resource to accelerate functional studies in watermelon and facilitate watermelon crop improvement.
Project description:Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai) is a non-climacteric fruit. The modern sweet-dessert watermelon is the result of years of cultivation and selection for fruits with desirable qualities. To date, the mechanisms of watermelon fruit ripening, and the role of abscisic acid (ABA) in this process, has not been well understood. We quantified levels of free and conjugated ABA contents in the fruits of cultivated watermelon (97103; C. lanatus subsp. vulgaris), semi-wild germplasm (PI179878; C. lanatus subsp. mucosospermus), and wild germplasm (PI296341-FR; C. lanatus subsp. lanatus). Results showed that ABA content in the fruits of 97103 and PI179878 increased during fruit development and ripening, but maintained a low steady state in the center flesh of PI296341-FR fruits. ABA levels in fruits were highest in 97103 and lowest in PI296341-FR, but no obvious differences in ABA levels were observed in seeds of these lines. Examination of 31 representative watermelon accessions, including different C. lanatus subspecies and ancestral species, showed a correlation between soluble solids content (SSC) and ABA levels in ripening fruits. Furthermore, injection of exogenous ABA or nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) into 97103 fruits promoted or inhibited ripening, respectively. Transcriptomic analyses showed that the expression levels of several genes involved in ABA metabolism and signaling, including Cla009779 (NCED), Cla005404 (NCED), Cla020673 (CYP707A), Cla006655 (UGT) and Cla020180 (SnRK2), varied significantly in cultivated and wild watermelon center flesh. Three SNPs (-738, C/A; -1681, C/T; -1832, G/T) in the promoter region of Cla020673 (CYP707A) and one single SNP (-701, G/A) in the promoter of Cla020180 (SnRK2) exhibited a high level of correlation with SSC variation in the 100 tested accessions. Our results not only demonstrate for the first time that ABA is involved in the regulation of watermelon fruit ripening, but also provide insights into the evolutionary mechanisms of this phenomenon.
Project description:Ripening of fleshy fruits has been classically defined as climacteric or non-climacteric. Both types of ripening are controlled by plant hormones, notably by ethylene in climacteric ripening and by abscisic acid (ABA) in non-climacteric ripening. In pepper (Capsicum), fruit ripening has been widely classified as non-climacteric, but the ripening of the hot pepper fruit appears to be climacteric. To date, how to regulate the hot pepper fruit ripening through ethylene and ABA remains unclear.Here, we examined ripening of the hot pepper (Capsicum frutescens) fruit during large green (LG), initial colouring (IC), brown (Br), and full red (FR) stages. We found a peak of ethylene emission at the IC stage, followed by a peak respiratory quotient at the Br stage. By contrast, ABA levels increased slowly before the Br stage, then increased sharply and reached a maximum level at the FR stage. Exogenous ethylene promoted colouration, but exogenous ABA did not. Unexpectedly, fluridone, an inhibitor of ABA biosynthesis, promoted colouration. RNA-sequencing data obtained from the four stages around ripening showed that ACO3 and NCED1/3 gene expression determined ethylene and ABA levels, respectively. Downregulation of ACO3 and NCED1/3 expression by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) inhibited and promoted colouration, respectively, as evidenced by changes in carotenoid, ABA, and ethylene levels, as well as carotenoid biosynthesis-related gene expression. Importantly, the retarded colouration in ACO3-VIGS fruits was rescued by exogenous ethylene.Ethylene positively regulates the hot pepper fruit colouration, while inhibition of ABA biosynthesis promotes colouration, suggesting a role of ABA in de-greening. Our findings provide new insights into processes of fleshy fruit ripening regulated by ABA and ethylene, focusing on ethylene in carotenoid biosynthesis and ABA in chlorophyll degradation.