Chilling-induced tomato flavor loss is associated with altered volatile synthesis and transient changes in DNA methylation.
ABSTRACT: Commercial tomatoes are widely perceived by consumers as lacking flavor. A major part of that problem is a postharvest handling system that chills fruit. Low-temperature storage is widely used to slow ripening and reduce decay. However, chilling results in loss of flavor. Flavor-associated volatiles are sensitive to temperatures below 12 °C, and their loss greatly reduces flavor quality. Here, we provide a comprehensive view of the effects of chilling on flavor and volatiles associated with consumer liking. Reduced levels of specific volatiles are associated with significant reductions in transcripts encoding key volatile synthesis enzymes. Although expression of some genes critical to volatile synthesis recovers after a return to 20 °C, some genes do not. RNAs encoding transcription factors essential for ripening, including RIPENING INHIBITOR (RIN), NONRIPENING, and COLORLESS NONRIPENING are reduced in response to chilling and may be responsible for reduced transcript levels in many downstream genes during chilling. Those reductions are accompanied by major changes in the methylation status of promoters, including RIN Methylation changes are transient and may contribute to the fidelity of gene expression required to provide maximal beneficial environmental response with minimal tangential influence on broader fruit developmental biology.
Project description:RIPENING INHIBITOR (RIN)-deficient fruits generated by CRISPR/Cas9 initiated partial ripening at a similar time to wild-type (WT) fruits but only 10% WT concentrations of carotenoids and ethylene (ET) were synthesized. RIN-deficient fruit never ripened completely, even when supplied with exogenous ET. The low amount of endogenous ET that they did produce was sufficient to enable ripening initiation and this could be suppressed by the ET perception inhibitor 1-MCP. The reduced ET production by RIN-deficient tomatoes was due to an inability to induce autocatalytic system-2 ET synthesis, a characteristic feature of climacteric ripening. Production of volatiles and transcripts of key volatile biosynthetic genes also were greatly reduced in the absence of RIN. By contrast, the initial extent and rates of softening in the absence of RIN were similar to WT fruits, although detailed analysis showed that the expression of some cell wall-modifying enzymes was delayed and others increased in the absence of RIN. These results support a model where RIN and ET, via ERFs, are required for full expression of ripening genes. Ethylene initiates ripening of mature green fruit, upregulates RIN expression and other changes, including system-2 ET production. RIN, ET and other factors are required for completion of the full fruit-ripening programme.
Project description:Light is a major environmental factor affecting the regulation of secondary metabolites, such as pigments and flavor. The Solanaceae plant family has diverse patterns of fruit metabolisms that serve as suitable models to understand the molecular basis of its regulation across species. To investigate light-dependent regulation for fruit pigmentation and volatile flavors, major fruit pigments, their biosynthetic gene expression, and volatiles were analyzed in covered fruits of tomato and bell pepper. Immature covered fruits were found to be ivory in color and no chlorophyll was detected in both plants. The total carotenoid content was found to be reduced in ripe tomato and bell pepper under cover. Naringenin chalcone decreased more than 7-fold in ripe tomato and total flavonoids decreased about 10-fold in immature and ripe pepper fruit under light deficiency. Light positively impacts fruit pigmentation in tomato and bell pepper by regulating gene expression in carotenoid and flavonoid biosynthesis, especially phytoene synthase and chalcone synthase, respectively. Nineteen volatile flavors were detected, and seven of these exhibited light-dependent regulations for both ripe tomato and pepper. This study will help in improving fruit quality and aid future research works to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating the influence of light-dependency on pigments and flavor volatiles.
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:BACKGROUND: There is interest in improving the flavor of commercial strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) varieties. Fruit flavor is shaped by combinations of sugars, acids and volatile compounds. Many efforts seek to use genomics-based strategies to identify genes controlling flavor, and then designing durable molecular markers to follow these genes in breeding populations. In this report, fruit from two cultivars, varying for presence-absence of volatile compounds, along with segregating progeny, were analyzed using GC/MS and RNAseq. Expression data were bulked in silico according to presence/absence of a given volatile compound, in this case ?-decalactone, a compound conferring a peach flavor note to fruits. RESULTS: Computationally sorting reads in segregating progeny based on ?-decalactone presence eliminated transcripts not directly relevant to the volatile, revealing transcripts possibly imparting quantitative contributions. One candidate encodes an omega-6 fatty acid desaturase, an enzyme known to participate in lactone production in fungi, noted here as FaFAD1. This candidate was induced by ripening, was detected in certain harvests, and correlated with ?-decalactone presence. The FaFAD1 gene is present in every genotype where ?-decalactone has been detected, and it was invariably missing in non-producers. A functional, PCR-based molecular marker was developed that cosegregates with the phenotype in F1 and BC1 populations, as well as in many other cultivars and wild Fragaria accessions. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic, genomic and analytical chemistry techniques were combined to identify FaFAD1, a gene likely controlling a key flavor volatile in strawberry. The same data may now be re-sorted based on presence/absence of any other volatile to identify other flavor-affecting candidates, leading to rapid generation of gene-specific markers.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During ripening, climacteric fruits increase their ethylene level and subsequently undergo various physiological changes, such as softening, pigmentation and development of aroma and flavor. These changes occur simultaneously and are caused by the highly synchronized expression of numerous genes at the onset of ripening. In tomatoes, the MADS-box transcription factor RIN has been regarded as a key regulator responsible for the onset of ripening by acting upstream of both ethylene- and non-ethylene-mediated controls. However, except for LeACS2, direct targets of RIN have not been clarified, and little is known about the transcriptional cascade for ripening. RESULTS: Using immunoprecipitated (IPed) DNA fragments recovered by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) with anti-RIN antibody from ripening tomato fruit, we analyzed potential binding sites for RIN (CArG-box sites) in the promoters of representative ripening-induced genes by quantitative PCR. Results revealed nearly a 5- to 20-fold enrichment of CArG boxes in the promoters of LeACS2, LeACS4, PG, TBG4, LeEXP1, and LeMAN4 and of RIN itself, indicating direct interaction of RIN with their promoters in vivo. Moreover, sequence analysis and genome mapping of 51 cloned IPed DNAs revealed potential RIN binding sites. Quantitative PCR revealed that four of the potential binding sites were enriched 4- to 17-fold in the IPed DNA pools compared with the controls, indicating direct interaction of RIN with these sites in vivo. Near one of the four CArG boxes we found a gene encoding a protein similar to thioredoxin y1. An increase in the transcript level of this gene was observed with ripening in normal fruit but not in the rin mutant, suggesting that RIN possibly induces its expression. CONCLUSIONS: The presented results suggest that RIN controls fruit softening and ethylene production by the direct transcriptional regulation of cell-wall-modifying genes and ethylene biosynthesis genes during ripening. Moreover, the binding of RIN to its own promoter suggests the presence of autoregulation for RIN expression. ChIP-based analyses identified a novel RIN-binding CArG-box site that harbors a gene associated with RIN expression in its flanking region. These findings clarify the crucial role of RIN in the transcriptional regulation of ripening initiation and progression.
Project description:Aroma-related volatiles, together with sugars and acids, play an important role in determining fruit flavor quality. Characteristic volatiles of peach fruit are mainly derived from fatty acids such as linoleic acid (18:2) and linolenic acid (18:3). In the present study, six genes encoding fatty acid desaturases (FAD) were cloned, including two ?-6 FAD genes (PpFAD2, PpFAD6) and four ?-3 FAD genes (PpFAD3-1, PpFAD3-2, PpFAD7 and PpFAD8). Heterologous expression of peach FADs in tobacco plants showed that PpFAD3-1, and PpFAD3-2 significantly reduced contents of 18:2, and accumulated significant higher levels of 18:3. In the case of volatiles, transgenic plants produced lower concentrations of hexanal and higher levels of (E)-2-hexenal. Consequently, the ratio of the (E)-2-hexenal and hexanal was about 5- and 3-fold higher than that of wild type (WT) in PpFAD3-1 and PpFAD3-2 transformants, respectively. No significant changes in volatile profiles were observed in transgenic plants overexpressing the four other peach FAD genes. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis showed that ripe fruit had high PpFAD3-1 and low PpFAD3-2 transcript levels. In contrast, high PpFAD3-2 and low PpFAD3-1 transcript levels were observed in young fruit. These results indicate a temporal regulation of these two ?-3 FADs during development and ripening, influencing peach fruit volatile formation.
Project description:Fresh strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are valued for their characteristic red color, juicy texture, distinct aroma, and sweet fruity flavor. In this study, genetic and environmentally induced variation is exploited to capture biochemically diverse strawberry fruit for metabolite profiling and consumer rating. Analyses identify fruit attributes influencing hedonics and sensory perception of strawberry fruit using a psychophysics approach. Sweetness intensity, flavor intensity, and texture liking are dependent on sugar concentrations, specific volatile compounds, and fruit firmness, respectively. Overall liking is most greatly influenced by sweetness and strawberry flavor intensity, which are undermined by environmental pressures that reduce sucrose and total volatile content. The volatile profiles among commercial strawberry varieties are complex and distinct, but a list of perceptually impactful compounds from the larger mixture is better defined. Particular esters, terpenes, and furans have the most significant fits to strawberry flavor intensity. In total, thirty-one volatile compounds are found to be significantly correlated to strawberry flavor intensity, only one of them negatively. Further analysis identifies individual volatile compounds that have an enhancing effect on perceived sweetness intensity of fruit independent of sugar content. These findings allow for consumer influence in the breeding of more desirable fruits and vegetables. Also, this approach garners insights into fruit metabolomics, flavor chemistry, and a paradigm for enhancing liking of natural or processed products.
Project description:Sugars, organic acids and volatiles of apricot were determined by HPLC and GC-MS during fruit development and ripening, and the key taste and aroma components were identified by integrating flavor compound contents with consumers' evaluation. Sucrose and glucose were the major sugars in apricot fruit. The contents of all sugars increased rapidly, and the accumulation pattern of sugars converted from glucose-predominated to sucrose-predominated during fruit development and ripening. Sucrose synthase (SS), sorbitol oxidase (SO) and sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) are under tight developmental control and they might play important roles in sugar accumulation. Almost all organic acids identified increased during early development and then decrease rapidly. During early development, fruit mainly accumulated quinate and malate, with the increase of citrate after maturation, and quinate, malate and citrate were the predominant organic acids at the ripening stage. The odor activity values (OAV) of aroma volatiles showed that 18 aroma compounds were the characteristic components of apricot fruit. Aldehydes and terpenes decreased significantly during the whole development period, whereas lactones and apocarotenoids significantly increased with fruit ripening. The partial least squares regression (PLSR) results revealed that ?-ionone, ?-decalactone, sucrose and citrate are the key characteristic flavor factors contributing to consumer acceptance. Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases (CCD) may be involved in ?-ionone formation in apricot fruit.
Project description:Fruit ripening represents a process that changes flavor and appearance and also a process that dramatically increases fruit softening. Fruit softening and textural variations mainly result from disruptions to the cell walls of the fruit throughout ripening, but the exact mechanisms and specific modifications of the cell wall remain unclear. Plant-specific GRAS proteins play a critical role in development and growth. To date, few GRAS genes have been functionally categorized in tomato. The expression of a novel GRAS gene described in this study and designated as SlFSR (fruit shelf-life regulator) specifically increased during fruit ripening, but was significantly decreased in the tomato mutant rin (ripening inhibitor). RNAi repression of SlFSR resulted in reduced expression of multiple cell wall modification-related genes, decreased the activities of PG (polygalacturonase), TBG (tomato ?-galactosidase), CEL (cellulase), and XYL (?-D-xylosidase), and significantly prolonged fruit shelf-life. Furthermore, overexpression of SlFSR in mutant rin gave rise to up-regulated expression of multiple cell wall modification-related genes, such as PG, TBG4, CEL2, XYL1, PL, PE, MAN1, EXP1, and XTH5, and significantly shortened the fruit shelf-life. These findings reveal some of the genetic mechanisms underlying fruit cell wall metabolism and suggest that the SlFSR gene is another potential biotechnological target for the control of tomato fruit shelf-life.
Project description:Tomato flavor has changed over the course of long-term domestication and intensive breeding. To understand the genetic control of flavor, we report the meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using 775 tomato accessions and 2,316,117 SNPs from three GWAS panels. We discover 305 significant associations for the contents of sugars, acids, amino acids, and flavor-related volatiles. We demonstrate that fruit citrate and malate contents have been impacted by selection during domestication and improvement, while sugar content has undergone less stringent selection. We suggest that it may be possible to significantly increase volatiles that positively contribute to consumer preferences while reducing unpleasant volatiles, by selection of the relevant allele combinations. Our results provide genetic insights into the influence of human selection on tomato flavor and demonstrate the benefits obtained from meta-analysis.