NON-SMOKY GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE1 Prevents the Release of Smoky Aroma from Tomato Fruit

Y.M. Tikunov, J.W. Molthoff, R.C.H. de Vos, M.J. Beekwilder, A.M.M.L. van Houwelingen, J.J.J. van der Hooft, M.A. Nijenhuis-de Vries, C.W. Labrie, W. Verkerke, H.C. van de Geest, A.M. Víquez Zamora, S. Presa, J.L. Rambla Nebot, A. Granell, R.D. Hall, A.G. Bovy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Phenylpropanoid volatiles are responsible for the key tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicum) aroma attribute termed “smoky.” Release of these volatiles from their glycosylated precursors, rather than their biosynthesis, is the major determinant of smoky aroma in cultivated tomato. Using a combinatorial omics approach, we identified the NON-SMOKY GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE1 (NSGT1) gene. Expression of NSGT1 is induced during fruit ripening, and the encoded enzyme converts the cleavable diglycosides of the smoky-related phenylpropanoid volatiles into noncleavable triglycosides, thereby preventing their deglycosylation and release from tomato fruit upon tissue disruption. In an nsgt1/nsgt1 background, further glycosylation of phenylpropanoid volatile diglycosides does not occur, thereby enabling their cleavage and the release of corresponding volatiles. Using reverse genetics approaches, the NSGT1-mediated glycosylation was shown to be the molecular mechanism underlying the major quantitative trait locus for smoky aroma. Sensory trials with transgenic fruits, in which the inactive nsgt1 was complemented with the functional NSGT1, showed a significant and perceivable reduction in smoky aroma. NSGT1 may be used in a precision breeding strategy toward development of tomato fruits with distinct flavor phenotypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3067-3078
JournalThe Plant Cell
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • mass spectrometry
  • small molecules
  • salicylic-acid
  • key enzyme
  • flavor
  • volatiles
  • biosynthesis
  • components
  • odor
  • gene


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