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Article|04 Sep 2023|OPEN
RNA-sequencing analysis reveals novel genes involved in the different peel color formation in eggplant
Jing Li1,2,3 ,† , Senlin Jiang1 ,† , Guobin Yang1 and Yanwei Xu1 , Lujun Li1 , Fengjuan Yang,1,2,3 ,
1College of Horticulture Science and Engineering, Shandong Agricultural University/State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China
2Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops (Huanghuai Region), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China
3Shandong Collaborative Innovation Center for Fruit and Vegetable Production with High Quality and Efficiency, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad181 (2023)
Views: 61

Received: 14 Mar 2023
Accepted: 26 Aug 2023
Published online: 04 Sep 2023


Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is a highly nutritious vegetable. Here, the molecular mechanism of color formation in eggplants was determined using six eggplant cultivars with different peel colors and two SmMYB113-overexpressing transgenic eggplants with a purple peel and pulp. Significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified by RNA-sequencing analysis using the following criteria: log2(sample1/sample2) ≥ 0.75 and q-value ≤ 0.05. Two analytical strategies were used to identify genes related to the different peel color according to the peel color, flavonoids content, delphinidins/flavonoids ratio, and the content of anthocyanins. Finally, 27 novel genes were identified to be related to the color difference among eggplant peels and 32 novel genes were identified to be related to anthocyanin biosynthesis and regulated by SmMYB113. Venn analysis revealed that SmCytb5SmGSTSmMATESmASAT3, and SmF3′5’M were shared among both sets of novel genes. Transient expression assay in tobacco suggested that these five genes were not sufficient for inducing anthocyanin biosynthesis alone, but they play important roles in anthocyanin accumulation in eggplant peels. Yeast one-hybrid, electrophoretic mobility shift assay and dual-luciferase assays indicated that the expression of the five genes could be directly activated by SmMYB113 protein. Finally, a regulatory model for the mechanism of color formation in eggplant was proposed. Overall, the results of this study provide useful information that enhances our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying the different color formation in eggplant.