Fruit aroma is a complex trait, particularly in terms of the number of different biosynthetic pathways involved, the complexity of the final metabolites, and their regulation. In order to understand the underlying biochemical processes involved in apricot aroma, four cDNAs (Pa-aat, EU784138; Pa-adh EU395433; Pa-pdc EU395434; and Pa-lox EU439430) encoding an alcohol acyl transferase (AAT), alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC), and lipoxygenase (LOX), respectively, were isolated and characterized at four stages of maturity in Prunus armeniaca L. cv. Modesto. We observed a reduction in aldehyde and alcohol production between early-harvested fruit and late-harvest fruit, concomitant with an increase in ester production. qPCR analyses showed that the expression levels of the adh gene and the lox gene stayed constant at all stages. Interestingly, aat levels showed a sharp increase in the late-harvest stages concurrent with the changes observed in ester levels. The significance of these changes in relation to aroma production in apricot is discussed.
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