Systems approach for exploring the intricate associations between sweetness, color and aroma in melon fruits

Shiri Freilich, Shery Lev, Itay Gonda, Eli Reuveni, Vitaly Portnoy, Elad Oren, Marc Lohse, Navot Galpaz, Einat Bar, Galil Tzuri, Guy Wissotsky, Ayala Meir, Joseph Burger, Yaakov Tadmor, Arthur Schaffer, Zhangjun Fei, James Giovannoni, Efraim Lewinsohn, Nurit Katzir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Melon (Cucumis melo) fruits exhibit phenotypic diversity in several key quality determinants such as taste, color and aroma. Sucrose, carotenoids and volatiles are recognized as the key compounds shaping the above corresponding traits yet the full network of biochemical events underlying their synthesis have not been comprehensively described. To delineate the cellular processes shaping fruit quality phenotypes, a population of recombinant inbred lines (RIL) was used as a source of phenotypic and genotypic variations. In parallel, ripe fruits were analyzed for both the quantified level of 77 metabolic traits directly associated with fruit quality and for RNA-seq based expression profiles generated for 27,000 unigenes. First, we explored inter-metabolite association patterns; then, we described metabolites versus gene association patterns; finally, we used the correlation-based associations for predicting uncharacterized synthesis pathways. Results: Based on metabolite versus metabolite and metabolite versus gene association patterns, we divided metabolites into two key groups: a group including ethylene and aroma determining volatiles whose accumulation patterns are correlated with the expression of genes involved in the glycolysis and TCA cycle pathways; and a group including sucrose and color determining carotenoids whose accumulation levels are correlated with the expression of genes associated with plastid formation. Conclusions: The study integrates multiple processes into a genome scale perspective of cellular activity. This lays a foundation for deciphering the role of gene markers associated with the determination of fruit quality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Freilich et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


  • Correlation analysis
  • Fruit quality
  • Metabolomic
  • Recombinant inbred lines
  • Specialized metabolites
  • Transcriptomic


Dive into the research topics of 'Systems approach for exploring the intricate associations between sweetness, color and aroma in melon fruits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this