Systems approach for exploring the intricate associations between sweetness, color and aroma in melon fruits.
ABSTRACT: Melon (Cucumis melo) fruits exhibit phenotypic diversity in several key quality determinants such as taste, color and aroma. Sucrose, carotenoids and volatiles are recognized as the key compounds shaping the above corresponding traits yet the full network of biochemical events underlying their synthesis have not been comprehensively described. To delineate the cellular processes shaping fruit quality phenotypes, a population of recombinant inbred lines (RIL) was used as a source of phenotypic and genotypic variations. In parallel, ripe fruits were analyzed for both the quantified level of 77 metabolic traits directly associated with fruit quality and for RNA-seq based expression profiles generated for 27,000 unigenes. First, we explored inter-metabolite association patterns; then, we described metabolites versus gene association patterns; finally, we used the correlation-based associations for predicting uncharacterized synthesis pathways.Based on metabolite versus metabolite and metabolite versus gene association patterns, we divided metabolites into two key groups: a group including ethylene and aroma determining volatiles whose accumulation patterns are correlated with the expression of genes involved in the glycolysis and TCA cycle pathways; and a group including sucrose and color determining carotenoids whose accumulation levels are correlated with the expression of genes associated with plastid formation.The study integrates multiple processes into a genome scale perspective of cellular activity. This lays a foundation for deciphering the role of gene markers associated with the determination of fruit quality traits.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Carotenoids are plant metabolites which are not only essential in photosynthesis but also important quality factors in determining the pigmentation and aroma of flowers and fruits. To investigate the regulation of carotenoid metabolism, as related to norisoprenoids and other volatile compounds in peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch.), and the role of carotenoid dioxygenases in determining differences in flesh color phenotype and volatile composition, the expression patterns of relevant carotenoid genes and metabolites were studied during fruit development along with volatile compound content. Two contrasted cultivars, the yellow-fleshed 'Redhaven' (RH) and its white-fleshed mutant 'Redhaven Bianca' (RHB) were examined. RESULTS: The two genotypes displayed marked differences in the accumulation of carotenoid pigments in mesocarp tissues. Lower carotenoid levels and higher levels of norisoprenoid volatiles were observed in RHB, which might be explained by differential activity of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CCD) enzymes. In fact, the ccd4 transcript levels were dramatically higher at late ripening stages in RHB with respect to RH. The two genotypes also showed differences in the expression patterns of several carotenoid and isoprenoid transcripts, compatible with a feed-back regulation of these transcripts. Abamine SG - an inhibitor of CCD enzymes - decreased the levels of both isoprenoid and non-isoprenoid volatiles in RHB fruits, indicating a complex regulation of volatile production. CONCLUSIONS: Differential expression of ccd4 is likely to be the major determinant in the accumulation of carotenoids and carotenoid-derived volatiles in peach fruit flesh. More in general, dioxygenases appear to be key factors controlling volatile composition in peach fruit, since abamine SG-treated 'Redhaven Bianca' fruits had strongly reduced levels of norisoprenoids and other volatile classes. Comparative functional studies of peach carotenoid cleavage enzymes are required to fully elucidate their role in peach fruit pigmentation and aroma.
Project description:The unique aroma of melons (Cucumis melo L., Cucurbitaceae) is composed of many volatile compounds biosynthetically derived from fatty acids, carotenoids, amino acids, and terpenes. Although amino acids are known precursors of aroma compounds in the plant kingdom, the initial steps in the catabolism of amino acids into aroma volatiles have received little attention. Incubation of melon fruit cubes with amino acids and alpha-keto acids led to the enhanced formation of aroma compounds bearing the side chain of the exogenous amino or keto acid supplied. Moreover, L-[(13)C(6)]phenylalanine was also incorporated into aromatic volatile compounds. Amino acid transaminase activities extracted from the flesh of mature melon fruits converted L-isoleucine, L-leucine, L-valine, L-methionine, or L-phenylalanine into their respective alpha-keto acids, utilizing alpha-ketoglutarate as the amine acceptor. Two novel genes were isolated and characterized (CmArAT1 and CmBCAT1) encoding 45.6 kDa and 42.7 kDa proteins, respectively, that displayed aromatic and branched-chain amino acid transaminase activities, respectively, when expressed in Escherichia coli. The expression of CmBCAT1 and CmArAT1 was low in vegetative tissues, but increased in flesh and rind tissues during fruit ripening. In addition, ripe fruits of climacteric aromatic cultivars generally showed high expression of CmBCAT1 and CmArAT1 in contrast to non-climacteric non-aromatic fruits. The results presented here indicate that in melon fruit tissues, the catabolism of amino acids into aroma volatiles can initiate through a transamination mechanism, rather than decarboxylation or direct aldehyde synthesis, as has been demonstrated in other plants.
Project description:Genetic manipulation of genes to upregulate specific branches of metabolic pathways is a method that is commonly used to improve fruit quality. However, the use of a single gene to impact several metabolic pathways is difficult. Here, we show that overexpression of the single gene SlMYB75 (SlMYB75-OE) is effective at improving multiple fruit quality traits. In these engineered fruits, the anthocyanin content reached 1.86?mg?g-1 fresh weight at the red-ripe stage, and these SlMYB75-OE tomatoes displayed a series of physiological changes, including delayed ripening and increased ethylene production. In addition to anthocyanin, the total contents of phenolics, flavonoids and soluble solids in SlMYB75-OE fruits were enhanced by 2.6, 4, and 1.2 times, respectively, compared to those of wild-type (WT) fruits. Interestingly, a number of aroma volatiles, such as aldehyde, phenylpropanoid-derived and terpene volatiles, were significantly increased in SlMYB75-OE fruits, with some terpene volatiles showing more than 10 times higher levels than those in WT fruits. Consistent with the metabolic assessment, transcriptomic profiling indicated that the genes involved in the ethylene signaling, phenylpropanoid and isoprenoid pathways were greatly upregulated in SlMYB75-OE fruits. Yeast one-hybrid and transactivation assays revealed that SlMYB75 is able to directly bind to the MYBPLANT and MYBPZM cis-regulatory elements and to activate the promoters of the LOXC, AADC2 and TPS genes. The identification of SlMYB75 as a key regulator of fruit quality attributes through the transcriptional regulation of downstream genes involved in several metabolic pathways opens new avenues towards engineering fruits with a higher sensory and nutritional quality.
Project description:Flavor is a key attribute defining melon fruit quality and driving consumer preferences. We characterized and compared fruit ripening patterns (ethylene, respiration), physicochemical properties (rind/flesh color, firmness, soluble solids, acidity), aroma volatiles, and flavor-related sensory attributes in seven melon genotypes differing in shelf life capacity. Fruits were evaluated at optimal maturity and after storage for six days at 5 °C plus one day at room temperature. Total volatile content increased after storage in all genotypes, with esters being dominant. Shorter shelf-life genotypes, displaying a sharper climacteric phase, correlated with fruity/floral/sweet flavor-related descriptors, and with esters, sulfur-containing compounds and a terpenoid. Longer shelf-life types were associated with firmness, green and grassy aroma/flavor and aldehydes. Multivariate regression identified key volatiles that predict flavor sensory perception, which could accelerate breeding of longer shelf-life melons with improved flavor characteristics.
Project description:The biosynthetic processes leading to many of the isoprenoid volatiles released by tomato fruits are still unknown, though previous reports suggested a clear correlation with the carotenoids contained within the fruit. In this study, we investigated the activity of the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (SlCCD1B), which is highly expressed in fruits, and of its homolog SlCCD1A. Using in vitro assays performed with purified recombinant enzymes and by analyzing products formed by the two enzymes in carotene-accumulating Escherichia coli strains, we demonstrate that SlCCD1A and, to a larger extent, SlCCD1B, have a very relaxed specificity for both substrate and cleavage site, mediating the oxidative cleavage of cis- and all-trans-carotenoids as well as of different apocarotenoids at many more double bonds than previously reported. This activity gives rise to a plenitude of volatiles, mono-apocarotenoids and dialdehyde products, including cis-pseudoionone, neral, geranial, and farnesylacetone. Our results provide a direct evidence for a carotenoid origin of these compounds and point to CCD1s as the enzymes catalyzing the formation of the vast majority of tomato isoprenoid volatiles, many of which are aroma constituents.
Project description:Chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) is one of the most important crops worldwide. Its fruits contain metabolites produced over the maturation process like capsaicinoids and carotenoids. This metabolic process produces internal changes in flavor, color, texture, and aroma in fruits to make them more attractive for seed dispersal organisms. The chiltepin (C. annuum L. var. glabriusculum) is a wild variety of the C. annuum L. species that is considered a source of genetic resources that could be used to improve the current chili crops. In this study, we performed a transcriptomic analysis on two fruit maturation stages: immature stage (green fruit) and mature stage (red fruit) of a wild and a cultivated pepper variety. We found 19,811 genes expressed, and 1,008 genes differentially expressed (DEGs) in at least one of the five contrast used; 730 DEGs were found only in one contrast, and most DEGs in all contrasts were downregulated. GO enrichment analysis showed that the majority of DEGs are related to stress responses. KEGG enrichment analysis detected differences in expression patterns in metabolic pathways related to phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, secondary metabolites, plant hormone signal transduction, carotenoid biosynthesis and sesquiterpenoid and triterpenoid biosynthesis. We selected 105 tomato fruit ripening-related genes, and found 53 pepper homologs differentially expressed related to shape, size, and secondary metabolite biosynthesis. According to the transcriptome analysis, the two peppers showed very similar gene expression patterns; differences in expression patterns of genes related to shape, size, ethylene and secondary metabolites biosynthesis suggest that changes produced by domestication of chilli pepper could be very specific to the expression of genes related to traits desired in commercial fruits.
Project description:Flavor and nutritional quality has been negatively impacted during the course of domestication and improvement of the cultivated tomato (<i>Solanum</i> <i>lycopersicum</i>). Recent emphasis on consumers has emphasized breeding strategies that focus on flavor-associated chemicals, including sugars, acids, and aroma compounds. Carotenoids indirectly affect flavor as precursors of aroma compounds, while chlorophylls contribute to sugar production through photosynthesis. However, the relationships between these pigments and flavor content are still unclear. In this study, we developed a simple and high-throughput method to quantify chlorophylls and carotenoids. This method was applied to over one hundred tomato varieties, including <i>S</i>. <i>lycopersicum</i> and its wild relatives (<i>S</i>. <i>l</i>. var. <i>cerasiforme</i> and <i>S</i>. <i>pimpinellifolium</i>), for quantification of these pigments in fruits. The results obtained by integrating data of the pigments, soluble solids, sugars, and aroma compounds indicate that (i) chlorophyll-abundant varieties have relatively higher sugar accumulations and (ii) prolycopene is associated with an abundance of linear carotenoid-derived aroma compounds in one of the orange-fruited varieties, "Dixie Golden Giant". Our results suggest the importance of these pigments not only as components of fruit color but also as factors influencing flavor traits, such as sugars and aroma.
Project description:Plant-associated microbes can shape plant phenotype, performance, and productivity. Cultivation methods can influence the plant microbiome structure and differences observed in the nutritional quality of differently grown fruits might be due to variations in the microbiome taxonomic and functional composition. Here, the influence of organic and integrated pest management (IPM) cultivation on quality, aroma and microbiome of raspberry (<i>Rubus idaeus</i> L.) fruits was evaluated. Differences in the fruit microbiome of organic and IPM raspberry were examined by next-generation sequencing and bacterial isolates characterization to highlight the potential contribution of the resident-microflora to fruit characteristics and aroma. The cultivation method strongly influenced fruit nutraceutical traits, aroma and epiphytic bacterial biocoenosis. Organic cultivation resulted in smaller fruits with a higher anthocyanidins content and lower titratable acidity content in comparison to IPM berries. Management practices also influenced the amounts of acids, ketones, aldehydes and monoterpenes, emitted by fruits. Our results suggest that the effects on fruit quality could be related to differences in the population of <i>Gluconobacter</i>, <i>Sphingomonas</i>, <i>Rosenbergiella</i>, <i>Brevibacillus</i> and <i>Methylobacterium</i> on fruit. Finally, changes in fruit aroma can be partly explained by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by key bacterial genera characterizing organic and IPM raspberry fruits.
Project description:Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit contains significant amounts of bioactive compounds, particularly multiple classes of specialized metabolites. Enhancing the synthesis and accumulation of these substances, specifically in fruits, are central for improving tomato fruit quality (e.g. flavour and aroma) and could aid in elucidate pathways of specialized metabolism. To promote the production of specialized metabolites in tomato fruit, this work expressed under a fruit ripening-specific promoter, E8, a bacterial AroG gene encoding a 3-deoxy-d-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase (DAHPS), which is feedback-insensitive to phenylalanine inhibition. DAHPS, the first enzyme of the shikimate pathway, links between the primary and specialized metabolism derived from aromatic amino acids. AroG expression influenced the levels of number of primary metabolites, such as shikimic acid and aromatic amino acids, as well as multiple volatile and non-volatile phenylpropanoids specialized metabolites and carotenoids. An organoleptic test, performed by trained panellists, suggested that the ripe AroG-expressing tomato fruits had a preferred floral aroma compare with fruits of the wild-type line. These results imply that fruit-specific manipulation of the conversion of primary to specialized metabolism is an attractive approach for improving fruit aroma and flavour qualities as well as discovering novel fruit-specialized metabolites.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Aroma is one the most crucial inherent quality attributes of fruit. 'Ruixue' apples were selected from a cross between 'Pink Lady' and 'Fuji', a later ripening yellow new cultivar. However, there is little known about the content and composition of aroma compounds in 'Ruixue' apples or the genetic characters of 'Ruixue' and its parents. In addition, the metabolic pathways for biosynthesis of aroma volatiles and aroma-related genes remain poorly understood.<h4>Results</h4>Volatile aroma compounds were putatively identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Our results show that the profile of volatile compounds changes with ripening. Aldehydes were the dominant volatile compounds in early fruit development, with alcohols and esters increasing dramatically during maturation. On the basis of a heatmap dendrogram, these aroma compounds clustered into seven groups. In ripe fruit, esters and terpenoids were the main aroma volatiles in ripening fruit of 'Pink Lady' and 'Fuji' apples, and they included butyl 2-methylbutanoate; propanoic acid, hexyl ester; propanoic acid, hexyl ester; hexanoic acid, hexyl ester; acetic acid, hexyl ester and (Z, E)-α-farnesene. Interestingly, aldehydes and terpenoids were the dominant volatile aroma compounds in ripening fruit of 'Ruixue', and they mainly included hexanal; 2-hexenal; octanal; (E)-2-octenal; nonanal and (Z, E)-α-farnesene. By comparing the transcriptome profiles of 'Ruixue' and its parents fruits during development, we identified a large number of aroma-related genes related to the fatty acid, isoleucine and sesquiterpenoid metabolism pathways and transcription factors that may volatile regulate biosynthesis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our initial study facilitates a better understanding of the volatile compounds that affect fruit flavour as well as the mechanisms underlying differences in flavour between 'Ruixue' and its parents.