Plastid structure and carotenogenic gene expression in red- and white-fleshed loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) fruits
SourceJournal of Experimental Botany, 63, 1, (2012), pp. 341-354
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Experimental Botany
SubjectNCMLS 6: Genetics and epigenetic pathways of disease
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.) can be sorted into red- and white-fleshed cultivars. The flesh of Luoyangqing (LYQ, red-fleshed) appears red-orange because of a high content of carotenoids while the flesh of Baisha (BS, white-fleshed) appears ivory white due to a lack of carotenoid accumulation. The carotenoid content in the peel and flesh of LYQ was approximately 68 mug g(-1) and 13 mug g(-1) fresh weight (FW), respectively, and for BS 19 mug g(-1) and 0.27 mug g(-1) FW. The mRNA levels of 15 carotenogenesis-related genes were analysed during fruit development and ripening. After the breaker stage (S4), the mRNA levels of phytoene synthase 1 (PSY1) and chromoplast-specific lycopene beta-cyclase (CYCB) were higher in the peel, and CYCB and beta-carotene hydroxylase (BCH) mRNAs were higher in the flesh of LYQ, compared with BS. Plastid morphogenesis during fruit ripening was also studied. The ultrastructure of plastids in the peel of BS changed less than in LYQ during fruit development. Two different chromoplast shapes were observed in the cells of LYQ peel and flesh at the fully ripe stage. Carotenoids were incorporated in the globules in chromoplasts of LYQ and BS peel but were in a crystalline form in the chromoplasts of LYQ flesh. However, no chromoplast structure was found in the cells of fully ripe BS fruit flesh. The mRNA level of plastid lipid-associated protein (PAP) in the peel and flesh of LYQ was over five times higher than in BS peel and flesh. In conclusion, the lower carotenoid content in BS fruit was associated with the lower mRNA levels of PSY1, CYCB, and BCH; however, the failure to develop normal chromoplasts in BS flesh is the most convincing explanation for the lack of carotenoid accumulation. The expression of PAP was well correlated with chromoplast numbers and carotenoid accumulation, suggesting its possible role in chromoplast biogenesis or interconversion of loquat fruit.
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