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Article|01 Apr 2021|OPEN
Preharvest long-term exposure to UV-B radiation promotes fruit ripening and modifies stage-specific anthocyanin metabolism in highbush blueberry
Taishan Li1, Ryutaro Tao1 & Hisayo Yamane1,
1Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 67 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.67
Views: 233

Received: 26 Aug 2020
Revised: 24 Jan 2021
Accepted: 06 Feb 2021
Published online: 01 Apr 2021

Abstract

Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) light (280–315 nm) is an important environmental signal that regulates plant development and photomorphogenesis, while also affecting the flavonoid pathway, including anthocyanin biosynthesis. Regarding the effects of UV-B radiation on fruits, the effects of a short-term or postharvest irradiation on fruit quality have been well-documented, but the effects of a long-term preharvest UV-B irradiation on fruit growth and coloration remain unclear. Thus, in this study, we investigated the effects of a long-term treatment involving an environmentally relevant UV-B dose on highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) fruit. The preharvest UV-B treatment quickly promoted fruit growth and sugar accumulation, which is not commonly observed in other fruit tree species. The UV-B exposure also accelerated fruit ripening and coloration. The dual-luciferase assay proved that in blueberries, expression of VcUFGT encoding anthocyanin biosynthesis key enzyme, is positively and negatively regulated by VcMYBA1 and VcMYBC2, respectively. Throughout the fruit development stage, the UV-B treatment up-regulated VcMYBPA1 expression, which increased VcUFGT expression via VcMYBA1. In the green fruit stage, the UV-B treatment increased HY5 encoding UV receptor, which up-regulates VcMYBPA1 and down-regulates VcMYBC2, thereby promotes the accumulation of anthocyanins. On the other hand, excessive anthocyanin synthesis was inhibited by increased VcMYBC2 levels in mature fruits when exposed to UV-B light through HY5-independent pathway. In conclusion, anthocyanin-related MYB activators and repressor may coordinately balance the accumulation of anthocyanins in blueberry fruits, with UV-B treatments possibly influencing their effects in a stage-specific manner. The potential utility of preharvest UV-B treatments for improving blueberry fruit quality is discussed herein.