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Arogenate Dehydratase Isoforms Differentially Regulate Anthocyanin Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Chen, Qingbo, Man, Cong, Li, Danning, Tan, Huijuan, Xie, Ye, Huang, Jirong
Molecular plant 2016 v.9 no.12 pp. 1609-1619
Arabidopsis thaliana, animals, anthocyanins, biochemical pathways, biosynthesis, correlation, gene overexpression, genetic analysis, mutants, phenotype, phenylalanine, seedlings, transgenic plants
Anthocyanins, a group of L-phenylalanine (Phe)-derived flavonoids, have been demonstrated to play important roles in plant stress resistance and interactions between plants and insects. Although the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway and its regulatory mechanisms have been extensively studied, it remains unclear whether the level of Phe supply affects anthocyanin biosynthesis. Here, we investigated the roles of arogenate dehydratases (ADTs), the key enzymes that catalyze the conversion of arogenate into Phe, in sucrose-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Genetic analysis showed that all six ADT isoforms function redundantly in anthocyanin biosynthesis but have differential contributions. ADT2 contributes the most to anthocyanin accumulation, followed by ADT1 and ADT3, and ADT4–ADT6. We found that anthocyanin content is positively correlated with the levels of Phe and sucrose-induced ADT transcripts in seedlings. Consistently, addition of Phe to the medium could dramatically increase anthocyanin content in the wild-type plants and rescue the phenotype of the adt1 adt3 double mutant regarding the anthocyanin accumulation. Moreover, transgenic plants overexpressing ADT4, which appears to be less sensitive to Phe than overexpression of ADT2, hyperaccumulate Phe and produce elevated level of anthocyanins. Taken together, our results suggest that the level of Phe is an important regulatory factor for sustaining anthocyanin biosynthesis.