CitAP2.10 activation of the terpene synthase CsTPS1 is associated with the synthesis of (+)-valencene in ‘Newhall’ orange

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Aroma is a vital characteristic that determines the quality and commercial value of citrus fruits, and characteristic volatiles have been analyzed in different citrus species. In sweet orange, Citrus sinensis, the sesquiterpene (+)-valencene is a key volatile compound in the fruit peel. Valencene synthesis is catalyzed by the terpene synthase CsTPS1, but the transcriptional mechanisms controlling its gene expression are unknown. Here, the AP2/ERF (APETALA2/ethylene response factor) transcription factor, CitAP2.10, is characterized as a regulator of (+)-valencene synthesis. The expression pattern of CitAP2.10 was positively correlated with (+)-valencene content and CsTPS1 expression. Dual-luciferase assays indicated that CitAP2.10 could trans-activate the CsTPS1 promoter. Ethylene enhanced expression of CitAP2.10 and this effect was abolished by the ethylene antagonist 1-methylcyclopropene. The role and function of CitAP2.10 in (+)-valencene biosynthesis were confirmed using the Arabidopsis homolog (AtWRI1), which also transiently activated the CsTPS1 promoter. Furthermore, transient over-expression of CitAP2.10 triggered (+)-valencene biosynthesis in sweet orange fruit. These results indicate that CitAP2.10 regulates (+)-valencene synthesis via induction of CsTPS1 mRNA accumulation.

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