Fruit ripening in Prunus persica involves a number of physiological changes, being one of the most significant the mesocarp softening in melting varieties. In order to get a better understanding of the molecular processes involved in this phenomenon, the protein accumulation patterns in firm and soft fruit of three peach and two nectarine melting flesh varieties were assessed using 2D gel analysis. A General Linear Model (GLM) two-way analysis of variance determined that 164 of the 621 protein spots analyzed displayed a differential accumulation associated with the softening process. Among them, only 14 proteins changed their accumulation in all the varieties assessed, including proteins mostly involved in carbohydrates and cell wall metabolism as well as fruit senescence. The analysis among varieties showed that 195 and 189 spots changed within the firm and soft fruit conditions, respectively. Despite the changes in relative abundance in the spot proteins, the proteome is conserved among varieties and during the transition from firm to soft fruit. Only two spots proteins exhibited a qualitative change in all the conditions assessed. These results are in agreement with the notion that Prunus persica commercial varieties have a narrow genetic background.
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