DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhad249 ISSN: 2052-7276

Vacuolar proteomic analysis reveals tonoplast transporters for accumulation of citric acid and sugar in citrus fruit

Zuolin Mao, Yue Wang, Mengdi Li, Shuhang Zhang, Zeqi Zhao, Qiang Xu, Ji-Hong Liu, Chunlong Li
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology


Vacuole largely dictates the fruit taste and flavor, as most of the sugars and organic acids are stored in the vacuoles of the fruit. However, difficulties associated with vacuole separation severely hinder identification and characterization of vacuolar proteins in fruit species. In this study, we established an effective approach for separating vacuoles and successfully purified vacuolar protein from six types of citrus fruit with varying patterns of sugar and organic acid contents. By using label-free LC-MS/MS proteomic analysis, 1,443 core proteins were found to be associated with the essential functions of vacuole in citrus fruit. Correlation analysis of metabolite concentration with proteomic data revealed a transporter system for the accumulation of organic acid and soluble sugars in citrus. Furthermore, we characterized the physiological roles of selected key tonoplast transporters, ABCG15, Dict2.1, TMT2 and STP7 in the accumulation of citric acid and sugars. These findings provide a novel perspective and practical solution for investigating the transporters underlying the formation of citrus taste and flavor.

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