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Carotenoid accumulation in durian (Durio zibethinus) fruit is affected by ethylene via modulation of carotenoid pathway gene expression

Wisutiamonkul, Apinya, Ampomah-Dwamena, Charles, Allan, Andrew C., Ketsa, Saichol
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2017 v.115 pp. 308-319
1-methylcyclopropene, Durio zibethinus, alpha-carotene, bacteria, beta-carotene, color, cultivars, durians, ethephon, ethylene, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, lutein, lycopene, lycopene beta-cyclase, pigmentation, pulp, zeaxanthin
Carotenoid content in durian (Durio zibethinus) fruit is an important aspect of fruit quality, with different cultivars distinguished by differing pigmentation. We have studied the dependence of carotenogenesis on ethylene. Fruit of the cultivar ‘Chanee’ harvested at the mature stage were either left untreated (controls), treated with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for 12 h, or treated with application of an aqueous ethephon solution to the stem end, or treated for 12 h with 1-MCP followed by ethephon application. Fruit were then stored for 9 d at 25 °C. Pulp color of durian became steadily yellowish as a result of accumulation of carotenoids, which were mainly beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene, with a minor amount of zeaxanthin and lutein. 1-MCP delayed the increase in the accumulation of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zeaxanthin, but not lutein. In contrast, ethephon had no significant effect on carotenoid accumulation. The expression of zeta-carotene desaturase (ZDS), lycopene beta-cyclase (LCYB), chromoplast specific lycopene beta-cyclase (CYCB) and beta-carotene hydroxylase (BCH) genes was highly correlated with carotenoid content and pulp color.1-MCP resulted in significant down-regulation of ZDS, LCYB, CYCB and BCH expression. The accumulation of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene appears to be controlled by the level of expression of LCYB gene, whose function was tested in bacteria to show conversion of lycopene and delta-carotene to beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, respectively. These results suggest that ripening-induced carotenoid accumulation is regulated by endogenous ethylene controlling the expression of key genes such as LCYB.