Plants (May 2022)

A Collection of Melon (<i>Cucumis melo</i>) Fruit Cultivars with Varied Skin Appearances Provide Insight to the Contribution of Suberin in Periderm Formation and Reticulation

  • Ekaterina Manasherova,
  • Hagai Cohen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 10
p. 1336


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At times of fruit skin failure, reticulation made of a wound-periderm is formed below the cracked skin in order to seal the damaged tissue. Preceding investigations shed light on the mechanisms underlying the formation of fruit skin reticulation, demonstrating that the walls of periderm cells are heavily suberized and lignified. However, the relative contribution of the suberin pathway to these processes, as well as the association between suberin contents in the periderm tissue and reticulation degree, are largely unknown. To strengthen our understanding on these important physiological and agricultural aspects, we comparatively profiled skin tissues of a collection of smooth- and reticulated-skin melon (Cucumis melo) cultivars for suberin monomer composition via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). This metabolite profiling approach accompanied by statistical tools highlighted the fundamental chemical differences between the skin of smooth fruit made of a typical cuticle, to the skin of reticulated fruit made of large amounts of archetypal suberin building blocks including hydroxycinnamic acids, very long chain fatty acids, fatty alcohols, α-hydroxyacids, ω-hydroxyacids, and α,ω-diacids. Next, using image analysis we generated ‘reticulation maps’ and calculated the relative densities of reticulation. We then performed correlation assays in order to monitor suberin monomers that specifically correlate well with reticulation degree. Nonetheless, total suberin contents and most suberin building blocks did not show high correlations with reticulation degree, further suggesting that additional factors are likely to influence and regulate these processes. Altogether, the data provided vital information regarding the relative contribution of the suberin pathway to periderm formation and skin reticulation.