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Qiang Zhang, Wenting Dai, Hui Yang, Wenting Jia, Xuefei Ning, and Jixin Li

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Wen-hui Li, Jian-rong Feng, Shi-kui Zhang, and Zhang-hu Tang

‘Korla’ fragrant pear (Pyrus sinkiangensis T.T. Yu) variety has shown severe coarse skin in recent years. The intrinsic quality of its coarse fruit shows an increase in the number of stone cells and poor taste. In this study, stone cells and the cell wall of coarse pear (CP) and normal pear (NP) during various development stages were compared using paraffin-sectioning and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the relationships between lignin-related genes and stone cell formation and cell wall thickening were also analyzed. Our results show that giant stone cells are formed and distributed in the core of pear, whereas many of these crack 60 days after flowering (DAF). The period of stone cell fragmentation occurs later in CP fruits than in NP fruits. Parenchyma cell wall development in CP and NP fruits varies from 120 DAF to maturity. The parenchyma cell wall of CP fruits thickens, whereas that of NP fruits is thinner during the same period. The expression pattern of five genes (Pp4CL1-l, PpHCT-l, Pp4CL2-l, PpPOD4, and PpPOD25) coincides with changes in stone cell content in the pulp. Correlation analysis demonstrates a significant correlation between stone cell content and the expression level of the five genes (ρ < 0.05). In addition, the expression of those five genes and PpCCR1 genes in CP fruits significantly increases during maturation and is highly correlated with the thickness of the parenchyma cell wall. The aim of this work is to provide insights into the mechanism of stone cell and parenchyma cell wall development in pear fruits and identify important candidate genes to regulate the quality of fruit texture using bioengineering methods.

Open access

Rui Wang, Yuqing Gui, Tiejun Zhao, Masahisa Ishii, Masatake Eguchi, Hui Xu, Tianlai Li, and Yasunaga Iwasaki

Floral initiation is an important transition point from vegetative growth to reproductive growth in tomatoes and is known to be affected by light intensity, temperature, and nutrients. However, the regulation between flower formation and environmental factors, including nutrient conditions, due to source–sink dynamics (supply and demand of photoassimilates) is seldom documented. To evaluate the effects of light intensity and nutrition conditions on prefloral formation and development, dynamic floral characteristics during development were fitted with sigmoidal logistic curves under four light treatments with shading nets in two nutrient conditions. Source activity and sink strength were altered, which caused differences in the floral positions, length of floral shoots, floral initiation dates, and leaf numbers under the different treatments. Accumulated light acts upstream of nutrition supply during the formation of buds and leads to the accumulation of carbohydrates in source organs. Leaf area reached ≈500 cm2, and dry matter weights reached ≈3 g in each treatment until the flowering day, revealing that some level of photoassimilates are necessary for floral initiation. Both days to flowering and bud number were highly correlated with daily light integral (DLI) from 6 to 12 days before anthesis, which means this period is important for anthesis in tomato. Our results highlight regulation of the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth by tomato seedlings due to environmental factors and nutrients. A better understanding of communication between source organs and sink organs during floral initiation response to different environments is expected to provide management strategies for greenhouse tomato production.

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Li-Qiang Tan, Xin-Yu Wang, Hui Li, Guan-Qun Liu, Yao Zou, Shen-Xiang Chen, Ping-Wu Li, and Qian Tang

Landrace tea populations are important recourses for germplasm conservation and selection of elite tea clone cultivars. To understand their genetic diversity and use them effectively for breeding, two traditional landrace tea populations, Beichuan Taizicha (BCTZ) and Nanjiang Dayecha (NJDY), localized to northern Sichuan, were evaluated for morphological characters, simple sequence repeat (SSR)–based DNA markers and the contents of biochemical components. A wide range of morphological variation and a moderately high level of DNA polymorphism were observed from both BCTZ and NJDY. NJDY had on average, bigger leaves, larger flowers, higher total catechins (TCs), and greater gene diversity (GD) than BCTZ. Interestingly, samples from BCTZ had a wide range in the ratio of galloylated catechins to nongalloylated catechins (G/NG) (1.83–8.12, cv = 48.8%), whereas samples from NJDY were more variable in total amino acid (TAA) content (25.3–50.8 mg·g−1 dry weight) than those from BCTZ. We concluded that the two Camellia sinensis landrace populations are of great interest for both individual selection breeding and scientific studies.

Free access

Yi-Xuan Kou, Hui-Ying Shang, Kang-Shan Mao, Zhong-Hu Li, Keith Rushforth, and Robert P. Adams

Leyland cypress [×Hesperotropsis leylandii (A.B. Jacks. & Dallim.) Garland & G. Moore, Cupressaceae] is a well-known horticultural evergreen conifer in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. As demonstrated by previous studies, this taxon is a hybrid between alaska (nootka) cypress [Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little] and monterey cypress [Hesperocyparis macrocarpa (Hartw. ex Gordon) Bartel]. However, the genetic background of leyland cypress cultivars is unclear. Are they F1 or F2 hybrids or backcrosses? In this study, six individuals that represent major leyland cypress cultivars and two individuals each of its two putative parental species were collected, and three nuclear DNA regions (internal transcribed spacer, leafy and needly), three mitochondrial (mt) DNA regions (coxI, atpA, and rps3), and two chloroplast (cp) DNA regions (matK and rbcL) were sequenced and analyzed. Sequencing results of nuclear DNA regions revealed that leyland cypress cultivars consist of putative F1 and F2 hybrids as well as backcrosses. Analysis of the cp and mt DNA from six cultivars of leyland cypress revealed that their cytoplasmic (cp and mt) genomes came from alaska cypress. Our findings will provide important instructions and background knowledge on the management of these major leyland cypress cultivars as well as future studies. Meanwhile, alaska cypress and monterey cypress may have diverged with each other ≈46 million years ago. The fact that they can produce fertile hybrids indicates that hybridization events may have played an important role in the evolutionary history of the cypress family (Cupressaceae).

Free access

Jian-rong Feng, Wan-peng Xi, Wen-hui Li, Hai-nan Liu, Xiao-fang Liu, and Xiao-yan Lu

The characterization of aroma of the 14 main apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) cultivars in Xinjiang was evaluated using high-performance solid-phase microextraction (HP-SPME) with gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). A total of 208 volatiles that include 80 esters, 25 aldehydes, 15 terpenes, 21 ketones, 39 alcohols, 27 olefins, and 1 acid were identified from these cultivars. The compounds propyl acetate, 3-methyl-1-butanol acetate, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol acetate, d-limonene, β-linalool, hexanal, hexyl acetate, butyl acetate, β-myrcene, ethyl butanoate, and β-cis-ocimene were the major compounds responsible for aroma in these cultivars. GC-MS results showed that Kuchexiaobaixing, Guoxiyuluke, and seven other cultivars were characterized by a high level of esters and were considered to be fruity apricot aroma. ‘Luotuohuang’ and ‘Heiyexing’ accumulate high levels of terpenes and exhibited an outstanding floral aroma. Higher levels of alcohols and aldehydes were observed in ‘Danxing’, ‘Sumaiti’, and ‘Kumaiti’. The latter are considered green aroma cultivars. These three types of cultivars with different aroma characteristics can be significantly differentiated by using the principal component analysis (PCA) method. The contributions of volatiles to the apricot aroma were assessed by using the partial least squares regression (PLSR) model. Esters, terpenes, and C6 components were shown to be responsible for the fruity, floral, and green character of fresh apricots, respectively.

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Hai-nan Liu, Jian-rong Feng, Xiao-fang Liu, Wen-hui Li, Wen-juan Lv, and Ming Luo

Three kinds of expression vectors of a pollen-S determinant were constructed to provide a reference for molecular breeding of self-compatible (SC) Prunus species. An S-haplotype-specific F-box (SFB) protein gene from the ‘Xiaobaixing’ apricot (Prunus armeniaca) was cloned by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and 3′-rapid-amplification of cDNA ends (3′-RACE). A 1136-bp sequence complementary to the 3′-end of the cDNA (GenBank accession number KP938528.2) with a 912-bp complete open reading frame (ORF) was obtained. The deduced amino acid sequence contained an F-box domain, two variable regions, and two hypervariable regions with structural characteristics similar to SFB in other Rosaceae plants. Sense, antisense, and RNA interference (RNAi) vectors for SFB were constructed by enzyme restriction. The target fragment was restricted using the corresponding restriction enzyme and then directionally inserted between the 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter and the nopaline synthase terminator (NOS-ter) of the expression vector pCAMBIA-35S-MCS-NOS-NPTII. The intron-containing hairpin RNA (ihpRNA) was obtained by fusion PCR. The constructed vectors were transferred into Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA4404 by freezing/thawing. The RNAi vector of SFB was also transformed in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). The successful construction of these three expression vectors provides a basis for transforming ‘Xiaobaixing’ apricot and the breeding of SC Prunus cultivars.

Free access

Bin Cai, Cheng-Hui Li, Ai-Sheng Xiong, Ri-He Peng, Jun Zhou, Feng Gao, Zhen Zhang, and Quan-Hong Yao

The database of grape transcription factors (DGTF) is a plant transcription factor (TF) database comprehensively collecting and annotating grape (Vitis L.) TF. The DGTF contains 1423 putative grape TF in 57 families. These TF were identified from the predicted wine grape (Vitis vinifera L.) proteins from the grape genome sequencing project by means of a domain search. The DGTF provides detailed annotations for individual members of each TF family, including sequence feature, domain architecture, expression information, and orthologs in other plants. Cross-links to other public databases make its annotations more extensive. In addition, some other transcriptional regulators were also included in the DGTF. It contains 202 transcriptional regulators in 10 families.

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Rui Sun, Hui Li, Qiong Zhang, Dongmei Chen, Fengqiu Yang, Yongbo Zhao, Yi Wang, Yuepeng Han, Xinzhong Zhang, and Zhenhai Han

Flesh browning is an important negative trait for quality preservation of fresh-cut fruits. To obtain a better understanding of the inheritance and genetic control of flesh browning in apple, the phenotype of a hybrid population derived from ‘Jonathan’ × ‘Golden Delicious’ was studied for 2 successive years. The inheritance of the flesh browning trait was analyzed by the frequency distribution of the phenotypes. Flesh browning-associated major genes were then mapped by screening genome-wide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Flesh browning is inherited quantitatively and showed a clear bimodal frequency distribution, indicating that the segregation of major genes is involved in the variation. The segregation ratio of light and heavy browning was 7:1 in 2010, 2011, and 2010 + 2011, suggesting that the inheritance of the trait in apple involves three segregated loci of major genes. The heritability of the major gene effect was 72.14% and 72.76% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. SSR markers were screened from 600 pairs of SSR primers located on 17 apple linkage groups (LGs). The three major genes were mapped on LG10, 15, and 17 on the apple genome, respectively, by linkage analysis of flesh browning phenotypes and the genotypes of SSR markers. Two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flesh browning were mapped on LG15 of ‘Jonathan’ and LG17 of ‘Golden Delicious’, respectively, which are the same linkage groups that two major genes mapped on.

Open access

Hui-juan Zhou, Xia-nan Zhang, Ming-shen Su, Ji-hong Du, Xiong-wei Li, and Zheng-wen Ye

To investigate the influence of ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation pretreatment on the sugar metabolism of yellow peaches (cv. Beinong2 × 60–24–7) during storage, the concentrations of soluble sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, and sorbitol), and related gene expression were determined. During UVC pretreatment, peaches were subjected to a dose of 4 kJ·m−2 when they were placed at 15 cm under a UVC lamp tube for 10 minutes at 25 °C. Then, they remained at 15 ± 2 °C for 10 days. Peaches stored at 15 ± 2 °C immediately after picking were used as the control group (CG). UVC pretreatment reduced the ethylene production rate and resulted in a significant increase in the accumulation of sucrose during days 2 to 8 of the storage period, followed by a lower concentration of fructose and glucose and the upregulation of PpaSS1. The expression levels of PpaSPS2, PpaSS1, and PpaST3 were significantly correlated with fructose concentration, and those of PpaSPS2 and PpaST2 were significantly correlated with glucose concentration. The enzyme activity of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) was positively correlated with PpaSPS2, PpaSS2, and PpaST2. The enzyme activities of sucrose synthase (SS), acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) were positively correlated with PpaSS1, PpaST1, and Ppani, respectively. Expressions of PpSPS1 and PpSPS2 in UVC-pretreated peaches were upregulated on storage days 8 and 2, and there was a UVC-induced peak in SPS activity on storage days 4 and 8, which resulted in the rapid accumulation of sucrose. UVC pretreatment could upregulate the gene expression of PpaSS1 on day 2, which could improve and maintain the quality of peaches for consumption.