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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
- Carotenoid isomerase
- Cucumis melo
- Ethyl methanesulfonate
- Gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology