Transcriptome analysis of the exocarp of apple fruit identifies light-induced genes involved in red color pigmentation

Sornkanok Vimolmangkang, Danman Zheng, Yuepeng Han, M. Awais Khan, Ruth Elena Soria-Guerra, Schuyler S. Korban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the mechanism of light regulation of color pigmentation of apple fruit is not fully understood, it has been shown that light can regulate expression of genes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway by inducing transcription factors (TFs). Moreover, expression of genes encoding enzymes involved in this pathway may be coordinately regulated by multiple TFs. In this study, fruits on trees of apple cv. Red Delicious were covered with paper bags during early stages of fruit development and then removed prior to maturation to analyze the transcriptome in the exocarp of apple fruit. Comparisons of gene expression profiles of fruit covered with paper bags (dark-grown treatment) and those subjected to 14. h light treatment, following removal of paper bags, were investigated using an apple microarray of 40,000 sequences. Expression profiles were investigated over three time points, at one week intervals, during fruit development. Overall, 736 genes with expression values greater than two-fold were found to be modulated by light treatment. Light-induced products were classified into 19 categories with highest scores in primary metabolism (17%) and transcription (12%). Based on the Arabidopsis gene ontology annotation, 18 genes were identified as TFs. To further confirm expression patterns of flavonoid-related genes, these were subjected to quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) using fruit of red-skinned apple cv. Red Delicious and yellow-skinned apple cv. Golden Delicious. Of these, two genes showed higher levels of expression in 'Red Delicious' than in 'Golden Delicious', and were likely involved in the regulation of fruit red color pigmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014


  • Anthocyanin
  • Coloration
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Microarray analysis
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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