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  • Author or Editor: Mingjun Li x
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The objective of this study was to investigate ascorbic acid (AsA) accumulation, mRNA expression of genes involved in AsA biosynthesis as well as recycling, activity of key enzymes, and the relationship of them to AsA levels during the development of apple fruit (Malus ×domestica cv. Gala). AsA concentration, which mainly depends on biosynthesis, was the highest in young fruit post-anthesis and then decreased steadily toward maturation. However, AsA continued to accumulate over time because of the increase in fruit mass. Transcript levels of guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-L-galactose phosphorylase, GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase, D-galacturonate reductase, and the post-transcriptionally regulated L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase were not correlated with AsA accumulation in apple. In contrast, patterns of expression for L-galactose dehydrogenase, L-galactose-1-phosphate phosphatase, and GDP-mannose-3′,5′-epimerase showed a pattern of change similar to that of AsA accumulation. Although activities and expression levels of monodehydroascorbate reductase and dehydroascorbate reductase in fruit, which had less capacity for AsA recycling, were much lower than in leaves, they were not clearly correlated with AsA level during fruit development.

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Osmotic adjustments play a fundamental role in plant responses to water deficit. For apple (Malus domestica) trees growing in the primary production areas of China, drought and low phosphorus (P) levels are the main sources of abiotic stress. Although tolerance to drought and low P are important breeding goals for cultivar improvement, there is little information on natural variation within Malus for these traits or the molecular mechanisms that may mediate tolerance. In this study, it was found that in plants grown under conditions of osmotic and low P stress, electrolyte leakage and photosynthetic parameters were significantly higher, but chlorophyll concentrations were lower compared with nonstressed plants. These physiological indicators revealed that, under low P condition, the order of osmotic stress resistance (high to low) was Malus sieversii (Ms) → Malus prunifolia (Mp) → Malus hupehensis (Mh). Expression of the phosphorus transporter genes PHT1;7, PHT1;12, and PHT2;1 in the roots and PHT1;12 and PHT4;5 in the leaves was positively correlated with plant osmotic resistance. It is proposed that the highly expressed PHT genes might improve P absorption and transport efficiency, resulting in the high osmotic stress resistance under low P level conditions in Malus species.

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