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Transcriptomic and Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry Metabolomic Profiling Analysis of the Epidermis Provides Insights into Cuticular Wax Regulation in Developing ‘Yuluxiang’ Pear Fruit

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journal contribution
posted on 19.07.2019, 19:07 by Xiao Wu, Xinjie Shi, Mudan Bai, Yangyang Chen, Xiaolong Li, Kaijie Qi, Peng Cao, Mingzhi Li, Hao Yin, Shaoling Zhang
The layer of cuticular wax covering fruits plays important roles in protecting against disease, preventing non-stomatal water loss, and extending shelf life. However, the molecular basis of cuticular wax biosynthesis in pear (Pyrus) fruits remains elusive. Our study thoroughly investigates cuticular wax biosynthesis during pear fruit development from morphologic, transcriptomic, and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry metabolomic perspectives. Our results showed that cuticular wax concentrations increased during the early stage [20–80 days after full bloom (DAFB)] from 0.64 mg/cm2 (50 DAFB) to 1.75 mg/cm2 (80 DAFB) and then slightly decreased to 1.22 mg/cm2 during the fruit ripening period (80–140 DAFB). Scanning electron microscopy imaging indicated that wax plate crystals increased and wax structures varied during the pear fruit development. The combined transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling analysis revealed 27 genes, including 12 genes encoding transcription factors and a new structural gene (Pbr028523) encoding β-amyrin synthase, participating in the biosynthesis, transport, and regulation of cuticular wax according to their expression patterns in pear fruit. The quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction experiments of 18 differentially expressed genes were performed and confirmed the accuracy of the RNA-Seq-derived transcript expression. A model of VLCFAs and cuticular wax synthesis and transport in pear fruit is proposed, providing a mechanistic framework for understanding cuticular wax biosynthesis in pear fruit. These results and data sets provide a foundation for the molecular events related to cuticular wax in ‘Yuluxiang’ pear fruit and may also help guide the functional analyses of candidate genes important for improving the cuticular wax of pear fruit in the future.