Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 93–108 | Cite as

Ιntra-species grafting induces epigenetic and metabolic changes accompanied by alterations in fruit size and shape of Cucurbita pepo L.

  • Aliki Xanthopoulou
  • Aphrodite Tsaballa
  • Ioannis Ganopoulos
  • Aliki Kapazoglou
  • Evangelia Avramidou
  • Filippos A. Aravanopoulos
  • Theodoros Moysiadis
  • Maslin Osathanunkul
  • Athanasios Tsaftaris
  • Andreas G. Doulis
  • Apostolos Kalivas
  • Eirini Sarrou
  • Stefan Martens
  • Irini Nianiou-ObeidatEmail author
  • Panagiotis MadesisEmail author
Original paper


To further understand the impact of grafting on fruit characteristics and to comprehend the mechanisms involved in graft-induced changes we studied homo- and hetero- grafted Cucurbita pepo cultivars (cv.) that vary in fruit size and shape. C. pepo cv. ‘Munchkin’ and cv. ‘Big Moose’ as well as cv. ‘Round green’ and cv. ‘Princess’ were homo-grafted and reciprocally hetero-grafted. The results show significant changes in fruit size when ‘Big Moose’ was grafted onto ‘Munchkin’ rootstocks in comparison to homo-grafted controls. Statistically significant changes were also observed in fruit shape when cv. ‘Princess’ was grafted on cv. ‘Round green’. This is the first report of such phenotypic changes after intra-species/inter-cultivar grafting in Cucurbitaceae. Additionally, we found significant changes in (i) secondary metabolite profile, (ii) global DNA methylation pattern and (iii) miRNA expression patterns in grafted scions and (iv) DNA methylation on graft-induced phenotypic changes in grafted plants. Our results contribute to further understanding graft-induced effects on fruit morphology in intra-species grafting. Furthermore, our results pave the way for understanding the role of phenolic metabolites and epigenetic molecular mechanisms on the phenotypic changes recorded.


Cucurbitaceae MSAP methylation sensitive amplified polymorphisms markers Epigenetic Phenolics miRNAs Fruit morphology 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 750 KB)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOC 32 KB)
10725_2018_456_MOESM3_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 57 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aliki Xanthopoulou
    • 1
  • Aphrodite Tsaballa
    • 2
  • Ioannis Ganopoulos
    • 2
  • Aliki Kapazoglou
    • 3
  • Evangelia Avramidou
    • 4
  • Filippos A. Aravanopoulos
    • 4
  • Theodoros Moysiadis
    • 5
  • Maslin Osathanunkul
    • 6
    • 7
  • Athanasios Tsaftaris
    • 1
    • 9
  • Andreas G. Doulis
    • 8
  • Apostolos Kalivas
    • 2
  • Eirini Sarrou
    • 2
  • Stefan Martens
    • 10
  • Irini Nianiou-Obeidat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Panagiotis Madesis
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and Plant BreedingAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessaloníkiGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic ResourcesHellenic Agricultural Organization-DEMETERThermiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Viticulture, Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops and ViticultureHellenic Agricultural Organization-DEMETERAthensGreece
  4. 4.Laboratory of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Faculty of Forestry and Natural EnvironmentAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessaloníkiGreece
  5. 5.Institute of Applied BiosciencesCERTHThermi, ThessaloníkiGreece
  6. 6.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  7. 7.Center of Excellence in Bioresources for Agriculture, Industry and MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  8. 8.Hellenic Agricultural Organization-DEMETER, Institute of Olive TreeSubtropical Crops and ViticultureHeraklionGreece
  9. 9.Perrotis College, American Farm SchoolThessaloníkiGreece
  10. 10.Department of Food Quality and Nutrition DepartmentIASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM)San Michele all’ AdigeItaly

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