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Article|01 Jan 2021|OPEN
Molecular investigation of Tuscan sweet cherries sampled over three years: gene expression analysis coupled to metabolomics and proteomics
Roberto Berni1,2, Sophie Charton3, Sébastien Planchon3, Sylvain Legay4, Marco Romi1, Claudio Cantini5, Giampiero Cai1, Jean-Francois Hausman4, Jenny Renaut3, & Gea Guerriero4,
1Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, via P.A. Mattioli 4, I-53100, Siena, Italy
2TERRA Teaching and Research Center, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, 5030, Gembloux, Belgium
3Environmental Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, 41, Rue du Brill, L-4422, Belvaux, Luxembourg
4Environmental Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, 5, rue Bommel, L-4940, Hautcharage, Luxembourg
5Istituto per la BioEconomia (IBE CNR), Dipartimento di Scienze BioAgroAlimentari, via Aurelia 49, 58022, Follonica, Italy

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 12 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.12
Views: 365

Received: 20 Aug 2020
Revised: 29 Oct 2020
Accepted: 02 Nov 2020
Published online: 01 Jan 2021


Sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) is a stone fruit widely consumed and appreciated for its organoleptic properties, as well as its nutraceutical potential. We here investigated the characteristics of six non-commercial Tuscan varieties of sweet cherry maintained at the Regional Germplasm Bank of the CNR-IBE in Follonica (Italy) and sampled ca. 60 days post-anthesis over three consecutive years (2016-2017-2018). We adopted an approach merging genotyping and targeted gene expression profiling with metabolomics. To complement the data, a study of the soluble proteomes was also performed on two varieties showing the highest content of flavonoids. Metabolomics identified the presence of flavanols and proanthocyanidins in highest abundance in the varieties Morellona and Crognola, while gene expression revealed that some differences were present in genes involved in the phenylpropanoid pathway during the 3 years and among the varieties. Finally, proteomics on Morellona and Crognola showed variations in proteins involved in stress response, primary metabolism and cell wall expansion. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first multi-pronged study focused on Tuscan sweet cherry varieties providing insights into the differential abundance of genes, proteins and metabolites.