Browse Articles

Article|11 Feb 2022|OPEN
Regulation of fleshy fruit ripening: from transcription factors to epigenetic modifications
Xiuming Li1 ,† , Xuemei Wang2 ,† , Yi Zhang3 , Aihong Zhang3 , and Chun-Xiang You,1 ,
1National Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Shandong Collaborative Innovation Center of Fruit & Vegetable Quality and Efficient Production, College of Horticulture Science and Engineering, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai-An, Shandong 271018, China
2Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Stress, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
3State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai-An, 271018, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: (2022)
Views: 193

Received: 06 Sep 2021
Accepted: 01 Dec 2021
Published online: 11 Feb 2022


Fleshy fruits undergo a complex ripening process, developing organoleptic fruit traits that attract herbivores and maximize seed dispersal. Ripening is the terminal stage of fruit development and involves a series of physiological and biochemical changes. In fleshy fruits, ripening always involves a drastic color change triggered by the accumulation of pigments and degradation of chlorophyll, softening caused by cell wall remodeling, and flavor formation as acids and sugars accumulate alongside volatile compounds. The mechanisms underlying fruit ripening rely on the orchestration of ripening-related transcription factors, plant hormones, and epigenetic modifications. In this review, we discuss current knowledge of the transcription factors that regulate ripening in conjunction with ethylene and environmental signals (light and temperature) in the model plant tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and other fleshy fruits. We emphasize the critical roles of epigenetic regulation, including DNA methylation and histone modification as well as RNA m6A modification, which has been studied intensively. This detailed review was compiled to provide a comprehensive description of the regulatory mechanisms of fruit ripening and guide new strategies for its effective manipulation.