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Article|17 May 2022|OPEN
Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of ethylene biosynthesis by exogenous acetylsalicylic acid in kiwifruit 
Jian Wang1,2 , Xiao-fen Liu1,2 , Hui-qin Zhang3 and Andrew C. Allan4,5 , Wen-qiu Wang1,2 , , Xue-ren Yin,1,2
1Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Integrative Biology, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou Zhejiang, 310058, China
2The State Agriculture Ministry Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Growth, Development and Quality Improvement, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou Zhejiang, 310058, China
3Institute of Horticulture, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou Zhejiang, 310021, China
4New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Private Bag 92169, Auckland, New Zealand
5School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac116 (2022)
Views: 100

Received: 18 Jan 2022
Accepted: 03 May 2022
Published online: 17 May 2022


Levels of ethylene, implicated in the induction of fruit ripening in a diverse array of plants, are influenced by genetic and environmental factors, such as other plant hormones. Among these, salicylic acid (SA) and its derivative, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), have been demonstrated to inhibit ethylene biosynthesis in fruit, yet the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we showed that treatment with exogenous ASA dramatically reduced ethylene production, as well as activities of ACC synthase (ACS) and ACC oxidase (ACO), in kiwifruit tissues. Comparative transcriptome analysis indicated the differential expression of ethylene biosynthetic genes (AdACS1/2 and AdACO5). A screen of transcription factors indicated that AdERF105L and AdWRKY29 were ASA-responsive regulators of AdACS1/2 and AdACO5, respectively. In addition to these genes, AdACS3 and AdACO3 were abundantly expressed in both ASA-treated and control tissues. AdACS3 protein was phosphorylated and stabilized by AdMPK16, a mitogen-activated protein kinase, while AdACO3 activity was enhanced by AdAP, an aspartic peptidase. Exogenous ASA downregulated AdMPK16 and AdAP, thereby influencing ethylene biosynthesis at a post-transcriptional level. These findings led us to propose a multidimensional system for inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis by ASA, inducing differential expression of some ethylene biosynthesis genes, as well as differential effects on protein activity on other targets.