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    The desert shrub Nitraria tangutorum Bobr. is important for its resistance to salt and alkali in Northwest China. It is an ecologically important species in this region and provides edible and medicinal berries. This study showed a mutant of N. tangutorum (named Jincan, JC) that has a strong yellow pericarp vs red in a wild type (represented by NT). In this study, the secondary metabolic and molecular mechanisms responsible for Nitraria fruit coloration were investigated using LC-MS-based widely targeted metabolomics and transcriptomics data. As a result of our study, 122 and 104 flavonoid metabolites were differentially expressed throughout the mature and transition stages between JC and NT, respectively. Furthermore, two cyanidin derivatives (cyanidin 3-O-glucoside and cyanidin-3-O-(2''-O-glucosyl) glucoside) and one pelargonidin derivative (pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside) were identified only in the NT phenotype. The functional genes F3H (flavanone 3-hydroxylase), F3'H (flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase) and UFGT (flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase) and the transcription factors MYB, bHLH, NAC and bZIP were significantly downregulated in JC. Meanwhile, the activity of UFGT was extremely low in both periods of JC, with a five-fold higher enzymatic activity of UFGT in RT than in YT. In summary, due to the lack of catalysis of UGFT, yellow fruit of JC could not accumulate sufficient cyanidin and pelargonidin derivatives during fruit ripening. Taken together, our data provide insights into the mechanism for the regulation of anthocyanin synthesis and N. tangutorum fruit coloration and provide a theoretical basis to develop new strategies for developing bioactive compounds from N. tangutorum fruits. © 2023. The Author(s).


    Huilong Zhang, Aishuang Hu, Haiwen Wu, Jianfeng Zhu, Jingbo Zhang, Tielong Cheng, Sergey Shabala, Huaxin Zhang, Xiuyan Yang. Integrated metabolome and transcriptome analysis unveils novel pathway involved in the fruit coloration of Nitraria tangutorum Bobr. BMC plant biology. 2023 Feb 01;23(1):65

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    PMID: 36721098

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