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Transcriptomic Analysis of Red-Fleshed Apples Reveals the Novel Role of MdWRKY11 in Flavonoid and Anthocyanin Biosynthesis

Wang, Nan, Liu, Wenjun, Zhang, Tianliang, Jiang, Shenghui, Xu, Haifeng, Wang, Yicheng, Zhang, Zongying, Wang, Chuanzeng, Chen, Xuesen
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2018 v.66 no.27 pp. 7076-7086
anthocyanins, apples, biosynthesis, breeding, callus, foods, genes, hybrids, liquid chromatography, liquids, mass spectrometry, nutritive value, screening, secondary metabolites, sequence analysis, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, transcriptomics
In plants, flavonoids are important secondary metabolites that contribute to the nutritional quality of many foods. Apple is a popular and frequently consumed food because of its high flavonoid content. In this study, flavonoid composition and content were detected and compared between red- and white-fleshed apples in a BC₁ hybrid population using ultraperformance liquid chromatography–quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Transcriptomic analysis of the red- and white-fleshed apples was then performed using RNA-seq technology. By screening differentially expressed genes encoding transcription factors, we unearthed a WRKY-family transcription factor designated MdWRKY11. Overexpression of MdWRKY11 promoted the expression of F3H, FLS, DFR, ANS, and UFGT and increased the accumulation of flavonoids and anthocyanin in apple calli. Our findings explored the novel role of MdWRKY11 in flavonoid biosynthesis and suggest several other genes that may also be potentially involved. This provides valuable information on flavonoid synthesis for the breeding of elite red-fleshed apples.