Differential metabolism of L–phenylalanine in the formation of aromatic volatiles in melon (Cucumis melo L.) fruit

Itay Gonda, Rachel Davidovich-Rikanati, Einat Bar, Shery Lev, Pliaa Jhirad, Yuval Meshulam, Guy Wissotsky, Vitaly Portnoy, Joseph Burger, Arthur A. Schaffer, Yaakov Tadmor, James J. Giovannoni, Zhangjun Fei, Aaron Fait, Nurit Katzir, Efraim Lewinsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Studies on the active pathways and the genes involved in the biosynthesis of L-phenylalanine-derived volatiles in fleshy fruits are sparse. Melon fruit rinds converted stable-isotope labeled L-phe into more than 20 volatiles. Phenylpropanes, phenylpropenes and benzenoids are apparently produced via the well-known phenylpropanoid pathway involving phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and being (E)-cinnamic acid a key intermediate. Phenethyl derivatives seemed to be derived from L-phe via a separate biosynthetic route not involving (E)-cinnamic acid and PAL. To explore for a biosynthetic route to (E)-cinnamaldehyde in melon rinds, soluble protein cell-free extracts were assayed with (E)-cinnamic acid, CoA, ATP, NADPH and MgSO4, producing (E)-cinnamaldehyde in vitro. In this context, we characterized CmCNL, a gene encoding for (E)-cinnamic acid:coenzyme A ligase, inferred to be involved in the biosynthesis of (E)-cinnamaldehyde. Additionally we describe CmBAMT, a SABATH gene family member encoding a benzoic acid:S-adenosyl-L-methionine carboxyl methyltransferase having a role in the accumulation of methyl benzoate. Our approach leads to a more comprehensive understanding of L-phe metabolism into aromatic volatiles in melon fruit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • (E)-cinnamaldehyde
  • (E)-cinnamic acid:coenzyme A ligase
  • Benzoic acid:S-adenosyl-L-methionine carboxyl methyltransferase
  • Cucumis melo L.
  • Cucurbitaceae
  • L-phenylalanine metabolism
  • Melon
  • Methyl benzoate
  • Phenylpropanoid aroma volatiles


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