, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 1695–1710 | Cite as

Differential expression of genes encoding phenylpropanoid enzymes in an apricot cultivar (Prunus armeniaca L.) with cleavable endocarp

  • Xiao Zhang
  • Qiuping Zhang
  • Xinyu Sun
  • Xiao Du
  • Weisheng LiuEmail author
  • Wenxuan DongEmail author
Original Article


Key message

Phenylpropanoid pathway related genes were identified and analyzed by co-expression network and expression pattern. NST1 may regulate the expression of CAD to affect the lignin deposition of ‘Liehe’ apricot endocarp.


Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca L.) is a typical Rosaceae stone fruit tree. The extensive lignification of its endocarp is an important metabolic event during fruit ripening. There are abundant apricot germplasm resources in China, including a special apricot cultivar, ‘Liehe’ (LE), which has a thin, soft, cleavable endocarp with a hardness 45.84% that of the ‘Jinxihong’ (JG) apricot (with normal hardened-endocarp). To understand the molecular mechanisms behind the LE phenotype, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) encoding key enzymes involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis were mined from transcriptome data by the co-expression network and expression patterns. DEGs encoding key enzymes involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis were significantly down-regulated in LE, and the activity of these enzymes exhibited similar results. NST1 (NAC secondary wall thickening promoting factor 1) expression levels in LE were only 13.7%, 2.8%, 9.4%, and 82.5% that in JG at 9, 15, 21, and 30 days after full bloom (DAFB), respectively. CAD (Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase) expression levels in LE were 1.3%, 0.7%, 0.2% and 2.7% that in JG at 15, 21, 30, 49 DAFB, respectively. CAD activity in LE was 46.4% and 63.6% that in JG at 42 and 49 DAFB, respectively. We thus used homologous cloning to determine the sequence differences of CAD and NST1 in LE and JG. Our results will help understand the molecular mechanisms underlying endocarp cleavage in LE apricot and provide a useful reference for further investigation of lignification during endocarp development. NST1 may regulate CAD which involved in the phenylpropanoid pathway and affect lignin deposition in LE endocarp.


Apricot Endocarp cleaving Phenylpropanoid pathway Expression pattern 



This work was supported by: National Key R&D Program of China “Formation and Regulation of Important Traits of Feature Economic Forest” (SQ2018YFD100028); Operation and Service Research of Hawthorn Germplasm Resources Sub-Infrastructure (NICGR2018-057).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2019_1890_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1.2 mb)
Figure S1 CDS (Coding sequence) of CAD of JG apricot (TIFF 1265 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM2_ESM.tif (1.2 mb)
Figure S2 CDS (Coding sequence) of CAD of LE apricot (TIFF 1256 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM3_ESM.tif (1.5 mb)
Figure S3 CDS (Coding sequence) of NST1 of JG apricot (TIFF 1574 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM4_ESM.tif (1.5 mb)
Figure S4 CDS (Coding sequence) of NST1 of LE apricot (TIFF 1579 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM5_ESM.tif (2.2 mb)
Figure S5 Phylogenetic tree of CAD protein sequences of various plants (TIFF 2261 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM6_ESM.tif (1.4 mb)
Figure S6 Phylogenetic tree of NST1 protein sequences of various plants (TIFF 1400 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM7_ESM.tif (957 kb)
Figure S7 BLAST result of CAD gene and conserved region prediction of its promoter (TIFF 956 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM8_ESM.xls (24 kb)
Table S1 Primers used to perform qPCR of selected candidate genes (XLS 24 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM9_ESM.xls (29 kb)
Table S2 Primers used to perform RT-PCR of selected candidate genes (XLS 29 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM10_ESM.xls (33 kb)
Table S3 System and steps of RT-PCR of selected candidate genes (XLS 33 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM11_ESM.xls (50 kb)
Table S4 Annotation and cluster analysis of genes involved in Phenylpropanoid pathway (XLS 50 kb)
468_2019_1890_MOESM12_ESM.xls (44 kb)
Table S5 Prediction of transcription binding site (XLS 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of HorticultureShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina
  2. 2.Liaoning Institute of PomologyYingkouChina
  3. 3.Tonghua Horticulture InstituteTonghuaChina

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