Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 2153–2175 | Cite as

Family-1 UDP glycosyltransferases in pear (Pyrus bretschneideri): Molecular identification, phylogenomic characterization and expression profiling during stone cell formation

  • Xi Cheng
  • Abdullah Muhammad
  • Guohui Li
  • Jingyun Zhang
  • Jun Cheng
  • Jingxiang Qiu
  • Taoshan Jiang
  • Qing Jin
  • Yongping CaiEmail author
  • Yi LinEmail author
Original Article


Stone cells are a characteristic trait of pear fruits, and excessive stone cell formation has a significant negative impact on the texture and flavour of the pulp. Lignin is one of the main components of stone cells. Family-1 uridine diphosphate-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) are responsible for the glycosylation modification of monolignols. However, information remains limited regarding the relationship between UGTs and stone cell formation. To address this problem, we identified 139 UGTs from the pear genome, which were distributed in 15 phylogenetic groups (A-M, O, and P). We also performed a collinearity analysis of UGTs among four Rosaceae plants (pear, peach, mei, and strawberry). Phylogenetic analysis suggested that 13 PbUGTs might be related to the glycosylation of monolignols. Analysis of expression patterns demonstrated that most putative monolignol glycosylation-related PbUGTs not only showed high expression levels in flowers and buds but were also induced by exogenous ABA, SA, and MeJA. In addition, the transcript level of Pbr005014.1 (named PbUGT72AJ2) was consistent with the changing trend of lignin content in pear fruit, and the transcript level was also higher in ‘Dangshan Su’ pear with higher lignin and stone cell contents. Subcellular localization results showed that PbUGT72AJ2 was located mainly in the cytomembrane and cytoplasm. Based on our study, PbUGT72AJ2 is considered to be a monolignol glycosylation-related UGT. Our results provide an important source for the identification of UGTs and a foundation for the future understanding and manipulation of lignin metabolism and stone cell formation in pear fruit.


UGT family Pear Stone cell Lignin Phylogenetic and expression analysis Subcellular localization 



We are very grateful to Pro. Dahui Li for his assistance in language modification. We extend our thanks to the reviewers and editors for their careful reading and helpful comments on this manuscript.

Author contributions

XC and AM contributed equally to the experiments. XC and AM wrote the paper and analyzed the data. GL, JC, and JZ contributed reagents and materials. JQ and JC helped process the data. TJ and QJ helped to polish the language. XC and YC discussed and analyzed the results. YC and YL conceived and designed the experiments. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant #31640068) and Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (Grant #1808085QC79).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life ScienceAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina
  2. 2.Horticultural InstituteAnhui Academy of Agricultural SciencesHefeiChina

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