Genetic and chemical characterization of an EMS induced mutation in Cucumis melo CRTISO gene

Navot Galpaz, Yosi Burger, Tamar Lavee, Galil Tzuri, Amir Sherman, Tal Melamed, Ravit Eshed, Ayala Meir, Vitaly Portnoy, Einat Bar, Einav Shimoni-Shor, Ari Feder, Yuval Saar, Uzi Saar, Fabian Baumkoler, Efraim Lewinsohn, Arthur A. Schaffer, Nurit Katzir, Yaakov Tadmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to broaden the available genetic variation of melon, we developed an ethyl methanesulfonate mutation library in an orange-flesh 'Charentais' type melon line that accumulates β-carotene. One mutagenized M2 family segregated for a novel recessive trait, a yellow-orange fruit flesh ('yofI'). HPLC analysis revealed that 'yofI' accumulates pro-lycopene (tetra-cis-lycopene) as its major fruit pigment. The altered carotenoid composition of 'yofI' is associated with a significant change of the fruit aroma since cleavage of β-carotene yields different apocarotenoids than the cleavage of pro-lycopene. Normally, pro-lycopene is further isomerized by CRTISO (carotenoid isomerase) to yield all-trans-lycopene, which is further cyclized to β-carotene in melon fruit. Cloning and sequencing of 'yofI' CRTISO identified two mRNA sequences which lead to truncated forms of CRTISO. Sequencing of the genomic CRTISO identified an A-T transversion in 'yofI' which leads to a premature STOP codon. The early carotenoid pathway genes were up regulated in yofI fruit causing accumulation of other intermediates such as phytoene and ζ-carotene. Total carotenoid levels are only slightly increased in the mutant. Mutants accumulating pro-lycopene have been reported in both tomato and watermelon fruits, however, this is the first report of a non-lycopene accumulating fruit showing this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture , Israel (Grant No. 2610776-10 ) and from the ‘Center for the Improvement of Cucurbit Fruit Quality’ , ARO , Israel. Publication No. 110/2013 of the Agricultural Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel.


  • Apocarotenoids
  • Carotenoid isomerase
  • Cucumis melo
  • Ethyl methanesulfonate
  • Gene expression
  • Pro-lycopene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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