Extreme sugar accumulation in late fig ripening is accompanied by global changes in sugar metabolism and transporter gene expression

Physiol Plant. 2022 Jan;174(1):e13648. doi: 10.1111/ppl.13648.


Female fig (Ficus carica L.) fruit are characterized by a major increase in volume and sugar content during the final week of development. A detailed developmental analysis of water and dry matter accumulation during these final days indicated a temporal separation between the increase in volume due to increasing water content and a subsequent sharp increase in sugar content during a few days. The results present fig as an extreme example of sugar import and accumulation, with calculated import rates that are one order of magnitude higher than those of other sugar-accumulating sweet fruit species. To shed light on the metabolic changes occurring during this period, we followed the expression pattern of 80 genes encoding sugar metabolism enzymes and sugar transporter proteins identified in fig fruit. A parallel comparison with male fig fruits, which do not accumulate sugar during ripening, highlighted the genes specifically related to sugar accumulation. Tissue-specific analysis indicated that the expression of genes involved in sugar metabolism and transport undergoes a global transition.

MeSH terms

  • Ficus* / genetics
  • Ficus* / metabolism
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Sugars / metabolism


  • Sugars