Hormonal regulation of early fruit development in European pear (Pyrus communis cv. ´Conference´)

Quinet M., Buyens C., Dobrev P.I., Motyka V., Jacquemart A.-L.

Keywords: fruit set, parthenocarpy, phytohormones, pollination, polyamines, transcriptomic
Abstract: European pear requires inter-cultivar cross-pollination by insects to develop fertilized fruits. However, some European pear cultivars such as ‘Conference’ naturally produce parthenocarpic seedless fruits. To better understand the hormonal regulation of fruit set and early fruit development in this European pear cultivar, the phytohormone and polyamine profiles in ‘Conference’ flowers and fruits resulting from both fertilization and parthenocarpic processes were analyzed. The expression of genes involved in phytohormone metabolism and signaling were also investigated. Phytohormone profiles differed more at flower stage 3 days after treatment than in 15 day- and 30-day-old fruits in response to fertilization and parthenocarpy. An increase in auxins, abscisic acid, ethylene precursor, and spermine, and a decrease in putrescine were recorded in the fertilized flowers as compared to the parthenocarpic flowers. Fertilization also upregulated genes involved in gibberellin synthesis and down-regulated genes involved in gibberellin catabolism although the total gibberellin content was not modified. Moreover, exogenous gibberellin (GA3, GA4/7) and cytokinin (6BA) applications did not increase parthenocarpic induction in ‘Conference’ as observed in other European and Asian pear cultivars. We hypothesize that the intrinsic parthenocarpy of ‘Conference’ could be related to a high gibberellin level in the flowers explaining why exogenous gibberellin application did not increase parthenocarpy as observed in other pear cultivars and species.
DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae5010009
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IEB authors: Petre I. Dobrev, Václav Motyka