A flavin-dependent monooxygenase produces nitrogenous tomato aroma volatiles using cysteine as a nitrogen source

Abstract: David K. LiscombeYusuke KamiyoshiharaJérémie GhironziChristine J. KempthorneKevin HootonBlandine BulotVassili KanellisJames McNultyNghi B. LamLouis Félix NadeauMichael PautlerDenise M. TiemanHarry J. Klee, and Charles Goulet. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) produces a wide range of volatile chemicals during fruit ripening, generating a distinct aroma and contributing to the overall flavor. Among these volatiles are several aromatic and aliphatic nitrogen-containing compounds for which the biosynthetic pathways are not known. While nitrogenous volatiles are abundant in tomato fruit, their content in fruits of the closely related species of the tomato clade is highly variable. For example, the green-fruited species Solanum pennellii are nearly devoid, while the red-fruited species S. lycopersicum and Solanum pimpinellifolium accumulate high amounts. Using an introgression population derived from S. pennellii, we identified a locus essential for the production of all the detectable nitrogenous volatiles in tomato fruit. Silencing of the underlying gene (SlTNH1;Solyc12g013690) in transgenic plants abolished production of aliphatic and aromatic nitrogenous volatiles in ripe fruit, and metabolomic analysis of these fruit revealed the accumulation of 2-isobutyl-tetrahydrothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid, a known conjugate of cysteine and 3-methylbutanal. Biosynthetic incorporation of stable isotope-labeled precursors into 2-isobutylthiazole and 2-phenylacetonitrile confirmed that cysteine provides the nitrogen atom for all nitrogenous volatiles in tomato fruit. Nicotiana benthamiana plants expressing SlTNH1 readily transformed synthetic 2-substituted tetrahydrothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid substrates into a mixture of the corresponding 2-substituted oxime, nitro, and nitrile volatiles. Distinct from other known flavin-dependent monooxygenase enzymes in plants, this tetrahydrothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid N-hydroxylase catalyzes sequential hydroxylations. Elucidation of this pathway is a major step forward in understanding and ultimately improving tomato flavor quality.

Posted on
This entry was posted in Reports and Publications.
Funding logos


Member Login

Lost your password?
Skip to content