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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Metaxenia on Stone Cell Formation in Pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) Based on Transcriptomic Analysis and Functional Characterization of the Lignin-Related Gene PbC4H2

by Xi Cheng 1,2,†, Jinyun Zhang 3,†, Han Wang 1, Tianzhe Chen 1, Guohui Li 1, Chongchong Yan 3, Qing Jin 1,2, Yi Lin 1,2 and Yongping Cai 1,2,*
1
School of Life Sciences, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
2
Anhui Provincial Engineering Technology Research Center for Development & Utilization of Regional Characteristic Plants, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
3
Horticultural Institute, Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hefei 230031, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010053
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 10 December 2019 / Accepted: 16 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement)
The deposition of lignin in flesh parenchyma cells for pear stone cells, and excessive stone cells reduce the taste and quality of the fruit. The effect of metaxenia on the quality of fruit has been heavily studied, but the effect of metaxenia on stone cell formation has not been fully elucidated to date. This study used P. bretschneideri (Chinese white pear) cv. ‘Yali’ (high-stone cell content) and P. pyrifolia (Sand pear) cv. ‘Cuiguan’ (low-stone cell content) as pollination trees to pollinate P. bretschneideri cv. ‘Lianglizaosu’ separately to fill this gap in the literature. The results of quantitative determination, histochemical staining and electron microscopy indicated that the content of stone cells and lignin in YL fruit (‘Yali’ (pollen parent) × ‘Lianglizaosu’ (seed parent)) was significantly higher than that in CL fruit (‘Cuiguan’ (pollen parent) × ‘Lianglizaosu’ (seed parent)). The transcriptome sequencing results that were obtained from the three developmental stages of the two types of hybrid fruits indicated that a large number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to auxin signal transduction (AUX/IAAs and ARFs), lignin biosynthesis, and lignin metabolism regulation (MYBs, LIMs, and KNOXs) between the CL and YL fruits at the early stage of fruit development. Therefore, metaxenia might change the signal transduction process of auxin in pear fruit, thereby regulating the expression of transcription factors (TFs) related to lignin metabolism, and ultimately affecting lignin deposition and stone cell development. In addition, we performed functional verification of a differentially expressed gene, PbC4H2 (cinnamate 4-hydroxylase). Heterologous expression of PbC4H2 in the c4h mutant not only restored its collapsed cell wall, but also significantly increased the lignin content in the inflorescence stem. The results of our research help to elucidate the metaxenia-mediated regulation of pear stone cell development and clarify the function of PbC4H2 in cell wall development and lignin synthesis, which establishes a foundation for subsequent molecular breeding. View Full-Text
Keywords: pear; stone cell; lignin biosynthesis; metaxenia; cinnamate 4-hydroxylase; transcriptome analysis; functional verification pear; stone cell; lignin biosynthesis; metaxenia; cinnamate 4-hydroxylase; transcriptome analysis; functional verification
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cheng, X.; Zhang, J.; Wang, H.; Chen, T.; Li, G.; Yan, C.; Jin, Q.; Lin, Y.; Cai, Y. Effects of Metaxenia on Stone Cell Formation in Pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) Based on Transcriptomic Analysis and Functional Characterization of the Lignin-Related Gene PbC4H2. Forests 2020, 11, 53.

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