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Fig fruit is well-known for its attractive flavor, color, and nutritional and medicinal value. Anthocyanin contributes to the fruit's color and constitutes a high percentage of the total antioxidant content of the fig fruit. We quantified the major anthocyanins and characterized the expression levels of anthocyanin-biosynthesis and transcription factor genes in fruit treated on-tree with exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) or ethephon, or the ABA inhibitors nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) or fluridone. The major anthocyanins cyanidin 3-O-glucoside and cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside were found in significantly higher quantities in exogenous ABA- and ethephon-treated fruit, with early dark purple color compared to the controls. On the other hand, NDGA- and fluridone-treated fruit had significantly lower amounts of anthocyanins, with less purple color coverage than controls. Expression levels of the anthocyanin-biosynthesis genes FcPAL, FcCHS2, FcCHI, FcF3H, FcDFR, FcANS, FcUFGT and Fc3RT were upregulated by exogenous ABA and ethephon treatment, and downregulated by NDGA and fluridone treatment. The MYB–bHLH–WD40 complex-related genes of ripe fig fruit were identified. In particular, FcMYB113 was strongly upregulated by exogenous ABA and ethephon, and strongly downregulated by NDGA and fluridone. In addition, moderate upregulation of FcGL3 and FcWD40 was observed with exogenous ABA and ethephon treatment, and moderate downregulation in NDGA- and fluridone-treated fruit. These results indicate that ABA can initiate anthocyanin biosynthesis, which ultimately improves the color and nutritional value of fig fruit, enhancing their attractiveness to consumers.

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Anthocyanin accumulation is initiated by abscisic acid to enhance fruit color during fig (Ficus carica L.) ripening
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Anthocyanin accumulation is initiated by abscisic acid to enhance fruit color during fig (Ficus carica L.) ripening

Fig fruit is well-known for its attractive flavor, color, and nutritional and medicinal value. Anthocyanin contributes to the fruit's color and constitutes a high percentage of the total antioxidant content of the fig fruit. We quantified the major anthocyanins and characterized the expression levels of anthocyanin-biosynthesis and transcription factor genes in fruit treated on-tree with exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) or ethephon, or the ABA inhibitors nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) or fluridone. The major anthocyanins cyanidin 3-O-glucoside and cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside were found in significantly higher quantities in exogenous ABA- and ethephon-treated fruit, with early dark purple color compared to the controls. On the other hand, NDGA- and fluridone-treated fruit had significantly lower amounts of anthocyanins, with less purple color coverage than controls. Expression levels of the anthocyanin-biosynthesis genes FcPAL, FcCHS2, FcCHI, FcF3H, FcDFR, FcANS, FcUFGT and Fc3RT were upregulated by exogenous ABA and ethephon treatment, and downregulated by NDGA and fluridone treatment. The MYB–bHLH–WD40 complex-related genes of ripe fig fruit were identified. In particular, FcMYB113 was strongly upregulated by exogenous ABA and ethephon, and strongly downregulated by NDGA and fluridone. In addition, moderate upregulation of FcGL3 and FcWD40 was observed with exogenous ABA and ethephon treatment, and moderate downregulation in NDGA- and fluridone-treated fruit. These results indicate that ABA can initiate anthocyanin biosynthesis, which ultimately improves the color and nutritional value of fig fruit, enhancing their attractiveness to consumers.

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