Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Influence of Abscisic Acid on the Metabolism of Pigments, Ascorbic Acid and Folic Acid during Strawberry Fruit Ripening
A comprehensive investigation of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and its influence on other important phytochemicals is critical for understanding the versatile roles that ABA plays during strawberry fruit ripening. Using RNA-seq technology, we sampled strawberry fruit in response to ABA or nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA; an ABA biosynthesis blocker) treatment during ripening and assessed the expression changes of genes involved in the metabolism of pigments, ascorbic acid (AsA) and folic acid in the receptacles. The transcriptome analysis identified a lot of genes differentially expressed in response to ABA or NDGA treatment. In particular, genes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway were actively regulated by ABA, with the exception of the gene encoding cinnamate 4-hydroxylase. Chlorophyll degradation was accelerated by ABA mainly owing to the higher expression of gene encoding pheide a oxygenase. The decrease of β-carotene content was accelerated by ABA treatment and delayed by NDGA. A high negative correlation rate was found between ABA and β-carotene content, indicating the importance of the requirement for ABA synthesis during fruit ripening. In addition, evaluation on the folate biosynthetic pathway indicate that ABA might have minor function in this nutrient’s biosynthesis process, however, it might be involved in its homeostasis. Surprisingly, though AsA content accumulated during fruit ripening, expressions of genes involved in its biosynthesis in the receptacles were significantly lower in ABA-treated fruits. This transcriptome analysis expands our understanding of ABA’s role in phytochemical metabolism during strawberry fruit ripening and the regulatory mechanisms of ABA on these pathways were discussed. Our study provides a wealth of genetic information in the metabolism pathways and may be helpful for molecular manipulation in the future.
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