Comparative transcriptome analysis of climacteric fruit of Chinese pear (Pyrus ussuriensis) reveals new insights into fruit ripening.

Research paper by Guohui G Huang, Tong T Li, Xinyue X Li, Dongmei D Tan, Zhongyu Z Jiang, Yun Y Wei, Juncai J Li, Aide A Wang

Indexed on: 13 Sep '14Published on: 13 Sep '14Published in: PloS one


The fruit of Pyrus ussuriensis is typically climacteric. During ripening, the fruits produce a large amount of ethylene, and their firmness drops rapidly. Although the molecular basis of climacteric fruit ripening has been studied in depth, some aspects remain unclear. Here, we compared the transcriptomes of pre- and post-climacteric fruits of Chinese pear (P. ussuriensis c.v. Nanguo) using RNA-seq. In total, 3,279 unigenes were differentially expressed between the pre- and post-climacteric fruits. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were subjected to Gene Ontology analysis, and 31 categories were significantly enriched in the groups 'biological process', 'molecular function' and 'cellular component'. The DEGs included genes related to plant hormones, such as ethylene, ABA, auxin, GA and brassinosteroid, and transcription factors, such as MADS, NAC, WRKY and HSF. Moreover, genes encoding enzymes related to DNA methylation, cytoskeletal proteins and heat shock proteins (HSPs) showed differential expression between the pre- and post-climacteric fruits. Select DEGs were subjected to further analysis using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), and the results were consistent with those of RNA-seq. Our data suggest that in addition to ethylene, other hormones play important roles in regulating fruit ripening and may interact with ethylene signaling during this process. DNA methylation-related methyltransferase and cytoskeletal protein genes are also involved in fruit ripening. Our results provide useful information for future research on pear fruit ripening.