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Article|11 Jul 2023|OPEN
DNA methylation mediated by RdDM pathway and demethylation affects furanone accumulation through regulation of QUINONE OXIDOREDUCTASE in strawberry
Yunduan Li1 ,† , Yanna Shi1,2,3 ,† , Yichen Li1 , Jiao Lu1 , Yunfan Sun1 , Yuanyuan Zhang1 , Wenbo Chen1,2,3 and Xiaofang Yang4 , Donald Grierson1,5 , Zhaobo Lang6 , , Guihua Jiang4 , , Kunsong Chen,1,2,3 ,
1College of Agriculture & Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou 310058, China
2Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Integrative Biology, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou 310058, China
3The State Agriculture Ministry Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Growth, Development and Quality Improvement, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou 310058, China
4Institute of Horticulture, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou 310021, Zhejiang, China
5Division of Plant and Crop Sciences, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD, United Kingdom
6Institute of Advanced Biotechnology and School of Life Sciences, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518055, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad131 (2023)
Views: 116

Received: 08 Mar 2023
Accepted: 19 Jun 2023
Published online: 11 Jul 2023


Recently, increasing evidence suggests that DNA methylation plays a crucial role in fruit ripening. However, the role of DNA methylation in regulating specific traits, such as flavor, remains unclear. Here, we report a role of DNA methylation in affecting furanone biosynthesis in strawberry. Strawberry quinone oxidoreductase (FaQR) is a key enzyme in furanone biosynthesis. There are four FaQR homologs in strawberry cultivar ‘Yuexin’, and one of them, FaQR3, contributes ~50% of FaQR transcripts, indicating a major role of FaQR3 in furanone biosynthesis. Through characterization of levels of DNA methylation and FaQR3 transcript and furanone contents during fruit ripening and after the application of DNA methylation inhibitor, we found that the DNA methylation level of the FaQR3 promoter was negatively correlated with FaQR3 expression and furanone accumulation, suggesting that DNA methylation may be involved in furanone biosynthesis through adjusting FaQR3 expression, and responded to different temperatures consistently. In addition, transient expression of a gene in the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway, FaAGO4, and enrichment analysis of the 24-nucleotide siRNAs suggested that DNA methylation in the FaQR3 promoter is mediated by the RdDM pathway. Transient RNA interference (RNAi) of FaDML indicated that the demethylation pathway may be involved in regulating furanone accumulation. These findings provide new insights into the role of DNA methylation and demethylation in affecting flavor quality in strawberry during fruit ripening.