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Comparative transcriptome analysis reveals key genes potentially related to organic acid and sugar accumulation in loquat

Citation

Zheng, Guohua; Yang, Jun (2021), Comparative transcriptome analysis reveals key genes potentially related to organic acid and sugar accumulation in loquat, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c866t1g5c

Abstract

Organic acids and sugars are the primary components that determine the quality and flavor of loquat fruits. In the present study, major organic acids, sugar content, enzyme activities, and the expression of related genes were analyzed during fruit development in two loquat cultivars, 'JieFangZhong' (JFZ) and 'BaiLi' (BL). Our results showed that the sugar content increased during fruit development in the two cultivars; however, the organic acid content dramatically decreased in the later stages of fruit development. The differences in organic acid and sugar content between the two cultivars primarily occured in the late stage of fruit development and the related enzymes showed dynamic changes in activies during development. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) and mNAD malic dehydrogenase (mNAD-MDH) showed higher activities in JFZ at 95 days after flowering (DAF) than in BL. However, NADP-dependent malic enzyme (NADP-ME) activity was the lowest at 95 DAF in both JFZ and BL with BL showing higher activity compared with JFZ. At 125 DAF, the activity of fructokinase (FRK) was significantly higher in JFZ than in BL. The activity of sucrose synthase (SUSY) in the sucrose cleavage direction (SS-C) was low at early stages of fruit development and increased at 125 DAF. SS-C activity was higher in JFZ than in BL. vAI and sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activities were similar in the two both cultivars and increased with fruit development. RNA-sequencing was performed to determine the candidate genes for organic acid and sugar metabolism. Our results showed that the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with the greated fold changes in the later stages of fruit development between the two cultivars were phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase 2 (PEPC2), mNAD-malate dehydrogenase (mNAD-MDH), cytosolic NADP-ME (cyNADP-ME2), aluminum-activated malate transporter (ALMT9), subunit A of vacuolar H+-ATPase (VHA-A), vacuolar H+-PPase (VHP1), NAD-sorbitol dehydrogenase (NAD-SDH), fructokinase (FK), sucrose synthase in sucrose cleavage (SS-C), sucrose-phosphate synthase 1 (SPS1), neutral invertase (NI), and vacuolar acid invertase (vAI). The expression of 12 key DEGs was validated by quantitative reverese transcription PCR (RT-qPCR). Our findings will help understand the molecular mechanism of organic acid and sugar formation in loquat, which will aid in breeding high-quality loquat cultivars.

Methods

Loquat fruits from cultivars 'JieFangZhong' (JFZ) and 'BaiLi' (BL) grown in the orchards of Changtai County, Putian city, Fujian Province, China, were used as the test materials in this study. Both cultivars are late maturing, and have similar flowering patterns. Thirty disease-free fruits of uniform size from each cultivar were collected at three developmental stages (65, 95, and 125 DAF). RNA-sequencing was performed to screen for key genes regulating sugar and organic acid metabolisms during the development of loquat fruit. Moreover, organic acid content, soluble sugar content, and enzyme activity were determined