Comparative metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis reveals that variations in flavonoids determine the colors of different rambutan cultivars

March 10, 2024 | Horticulturae |

Conducted by Hainan University and Hainan State Farms Academy of Sciences Group Co., Ltd., China, this study delves into the development of rambutan fruit peel color. Analyzing transcriptome, flavonoid metabolome, and carotenoid metabolome data from two rambutan cultivars—‘BY2’ and ‘BY7’—which exhibit yellow and red peels at maturity respectively, across three developmental stages, the research uncovered key insights. Anthocyanins emerged as the primary contributor to the red color of ‘BY7’ post-ripening, while flavonols likely drove the yellow hue in ‘BY2’. Carotenoid content notably declined as fruit matured. Transcriptome analysis identified 6,805 differentially expressed genes, predominantly enriched in metabolic pathways and secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis highlighted MYB, bHLH, ERF, WRKY, MYB-related, and C3H transcription factors as main regulators of peel color. Additionally, 12 structural genes associated with flavonoid biosynthesis were identified. These findings illuminate the molecular mechanisms underpinning rambutan peel coloration, paving the way for quality control measures and the cultivation of diverse rambutan cultivars.

Read more