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Open AccessArticle

Transcriptional Regulation of Ascorbic Acid During Fruit Ripening in Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Varieties with Low and High Antioxidants Content

Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, via Università 100, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contribute equally to the work.
Plants 2019, 8(7), 206;
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 1 July 2019 / Published: 4 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin C Metabolism in Plants)
PDF [1445 KB, uploaded 4 July 2019]


Research on plant antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid (AsA) and polyphenols, is of increasing interest in plant science because of the health benefits and preventive role in chronic diseases of these natural compounds. Pepper (Capiscum annuum L.) is a major dietary source of antioxidants, especially AsA. Although considerable advance has been made, our understanding of AsA biosynthesis and its regulation in higher plants is not yet exhaustive. For instance, while it is accepted that AsA content in cells is regulated at different levels (e.g., transcriptional and post-transcriptional), their relative prominence is not fully understood. In this work, we identified and studied two pepper varieties with low and high levels of AsA to shed light on the transcriptional mechanisms that can account for the observed phenotypes. We quantified AsA and polyphenols in leaves and during fruit maturation, and concurrently, we analyzed the transcription of 14 genes involved in AsA biosynthesis, degradation, and recycling. The differential transcriptional analysis indicated that the higher expression of genes involved in AsA accumulation is a likely explanation for the observed differences in fruits. This was also supported by the identification of gene-metabolite relations, which deserve further investigation. Our results provide new insights into AsA differential accumulation in pepper varieties and highlight the phenotypic diversity in local germplasm, a knowledge that may ultimately contribute to the increased level of health-related phytochemicals. View Full-Text
Keywords: antioxidants; vitamin C; gene transcription; germplasm; sweet pepper antioxidants; vitamin C; gene transcription; germplasm; sweet pepper

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Chiaiese, P.; Corrado, G.; Minutolo, M.; Barone, A.; Errico, A. Transcriptional Regulation of Ascorbic Acid During Fruit Ripening in Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Varieties with Low and High Antioxidants Content. Plants 2019, 8, 206.

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