J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2023, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (10): 2336-2348.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13535

• Molecular Physiology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

ClSnRK2.3 negatively regulates watermelon fruit ripening and sugar accumulation

Jinfang Wang, Yanping Wang, Yongtao Yu, Jie Zhang, Yi Ren, Shouwei Tian, Maoying Li, Shengjin Liao, Shaogui Guo, Guoyi Gong, Haiying Zhang and Yong Xu*   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetable Biobreeding, National Engineering Research Center for Vegetables, Beijing Key Laboratory of Vegetable Germplasms Improvement, Beijing Vegetable Research Center, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Science, Beijing 100097, China
    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: Yong Xu (xuyong@nercv.org)
  • Received:2022-11-22 Accepted:2023-03-23 Online:2023-05-23 Published:2023-10-01

Abstract: Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) as non-climacteric fruit is domesticated from the ancestors with inedible fruits. We previously revealed that the abscisic acid (ABA) signaling pathway gene ClSnRK2.3 might influence watermelon fruit ripening. However, the molecular mechanisms are unclear. Here, we found that the selective variation of ClSnRK2.3 resulted in lower promoter activity and gene expression level in cultivated watermelons than ancestors, which indicated ClSnRK2.3 might be a negative regulator in fruit ripening. Overexpression (OE) of ClSnRK2.3 significantly delayed watermelon fruit ripening and suppressed the accumulation of sucrose, ABA and gibberellin GA4. Furthermore, we determined that the pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase (ClPFP1) in sugar metabolism pathway and GA biosynthesis enzyme GA20 oxidase (ClGA20ox) could be phosphorylated by ClSnRK2.3 and thereby resulting in accelerated protein degradation in OE lines and finally led to low levels of sucrose and GA4. Besides that, ClSnRK2.3 phosphorylated homeodomain-leucine zipper protein (ClHAT1) and protected it from degradation to suppress the expression of the ABA biosynthesis gene 9’-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase 3 (ClNCED3). These results indicated that ClSnRK2.3 negatively regulated watermelon fruit ripening by manipulating the biosynthesis of sucrose, ABA and GA4. Altogether, these findings revealed a novel regulatory mechanism in non-climacteric fruit development and ripening.

Key words: fruit ripening, SnRK2.3, sucrose, watermelon

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