Sugar Metabolism and Transcriptome Analysis Reveal Key Sugar Transporters during Camellia oleifera Fruit Development

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 13;23(2):822. doi: 10.3390/ijms23020822.


Camellia oleifera is a widely planted woody oil crop with economic significance because it does not occupy cultivated land. The sugar-derived acetyl-CoA is the basic building block in fatty acid synthesis and oil synthesis in C. oleifera fruit; however, sugar metabolism in this species is uncharacterized. Herein, the changes in sugar content and metabolic enzyme activity and the transcriptomic changes during C. oleifera fruit development were determined in four developmental stages (CR6: young fruit formation; CR7: expansion; CR9: oil transformation; CR10: ripening). CR7 was the key period of sugar metabolism since it had the highest amount of soluble sugar, sucrose, and glucose with a high expression of genes related to sugar transport (four sucrose transporters (SUTs) or and one SWEET-like gene, also known as a sugar, will eventually be exported transporters) and metabolism. The significant positive correlation between their expression and sucrose content suggests that they may be the key genes responsible for sucrose transport and content maintenance. Significantly differentially expressed genes enriched in the starch and sucrose metabolism pathway were observed in the CR6 versus CR10 stages according to KEGG annotation. The 26 enriched candidate genes related to sucrose metabolism provide a molecular basis for further sugar metabolism studies in C. oleifera fruit.

Keywords: Camellia oleifera; RNA-seq; enzymes in sucrose metabolism; fruit development; sucrose transport; sugar content.

MeSH terms

  • Camellia / physiology*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Fruit / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Plant Development / genetics
  • Sugars / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Sugars