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Article|28 Nov 2023|OPEN
Vacuolar proteomic analysis reveals tonoplast transporters for accumulation of citric acid and sugar in citrus fruit
Zuolin Mao1 ,† , Yue Wang1 ,† , Mengdi Li1 , Shuhang Zhang1 , Zeqi Zhao1 , Qiang Xu1 , Ji-Hong Liu1 and Chunlong Li,1,2 ,
1National Key Laboratory for Germplasm Innovation & Utilization of Horticultural Crops, College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
2Hubei Hongshan Laboratory, Wuhan 430070, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 11,
Article number: uhad249 (2024)
Views: 26

Received: 17 Sep 2023
Accepted: 13 Nov 2023
Published online: 28 Nov 2023


Vacuole largely dictates the fruit taste and flavor, as most of the sugars and organic acids are stored in the vacuoles of the fruit. However, difficulties associated with vacuole separation severely hinder identification and characterization of vacuolar proteins in fruit species. In this study, we established an effective approach for separating vacuoles and successfully purified vacuolar protein from six types of citrus fruit with varying patterns of sugar and organic acid contents. By using label-free LC–MS/MS proteomic analysis, 1443 core proteins were found to be associated with the essential functions of vacuole in citrus fruit. Correlation analysis of metabolite concentration with proteomic data revealed a transporter system for the accumulation of organic acid and soluble sugars in citrus. Furthermore, we characterized the physiological roles of selected key tonoplast transporters, ABCG15, Dict2.1, TMT2, and STP7 in the accumulation of citric acid and sugars. These findings provide a novel perspective and practical solution for investigating the transporters underlying the formation of citrus taste and flavor.