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Fruit quality biology research team revealed molecular regulation mechanism of citric acid in citrus fruit

Editor: Date:2017-09-22 Hits:13

Journal of Experimental Botany (5 year impact factor=6.538) recently published an article entitled “Citrus CitNAC62 cooperates with CitWRKY1 to participate in citric acid degradation via up-regulation of CitAco3” (DOI: doi:10.1093/jxb/erx187). Post-doctor Shaojia Li is the first author, Professor Kunsong Chen is the corresponding author.

Citric acid is the predominant organic acid of citrus fruit. Degradation of citric acid occurs during fruit development, influencing fruit acidity. Associations of CitAco3 transcripts and citric acid degradation have been reported for citrusfruit. Here, transient overexpression of CitAco3 significantly reduced the citric acid content of citrus leaves and fruits. Using dual luciferase assays, it was shown that CitNAC62 and CitWRKY1 could transactivate the promoter of CitAco3. Subcellular localization results showed that CitWRKY1 was located in the nucleus and CitNAC62 was not. Yeast two-hybrid analysis and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays indicated that the two differently located transcription factors could interact with each other. Furthermore, BiFC showed that the protein–protein interaction occurred only in the nucleus, indicating the potential mobility of CitNAC62 in plant cells. A synergistic effect on citrate content was observed between CitNAC62 and CitWRKY1. Transient overexpression of CitNAC62 or CitWRKY1 led to significantly lower citrate content in citrus fruit. The combined expression of CitNAC62 and CitWRKY1 resulted in lower citrate content compared with the expression of CitNAC62 or CitWRKY1 alone. The transcript abundance of CitAco3 was consistent with the citrate content. Thus, we propose that a complex of CitWRKY1 and CitNAC62 contributes to citric acid degradation in citrus fruit, potentially via modulation of CitAco3.