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Characterization of a novel litchi R2R3-MYB transcription factor that involves in anthocyanin biosynthesis and tissue acidification

Lai, Biao, Du, Li-Na, Hu, Bing, Wang, Dan, Huang, Xu-Ming, Zhao, Jie-Tang, Wang, Hui-Cong, Hu, Gui-bing
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 62
Litchi chinensis, acidification, anthocyanins, aril, biosynthesis, color, corolla, flavor compounds, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genetically modified organisms, leaves, malic acid, pH, pericarp, structural genes, tissues, tobacco, transcription factors, transcriptome
BACKGROUND: Maturation of litchi (Litchi chinensis) fruit is characterized by dramatic changes in pigments in the pericarp and flavor compounds in the aril. Among them, the biosynthesis of anthocyanins is most noticeable. Previous studies showed that LcMYB1 and LcbHLH transcription factors participated in regulating the anthocyanin biosynthesis in litchi. However, the roles of other MYB factors remain unclear. RESULTS: In this study, we cloned and characterized the function of LcMYB5, a novel R2R3-MYB identified from litchi transcriptome. Although LcMYB5 was constitutively expressed in litchi tissues and its expressions was not correlated with tissue coloration, overexpression of LcMYB5 resulted in enhanced biosynthesis of anthocyanins in tobacco and petunia concurrent with the up-regulation of their endogenous bHLHs and key structural genes in anthocyanin precursor biosynthesis. These results indicate that LcMYB5 is an R2R3 transcriptional factor regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis either by directly activating the expression of key structural genes such as DFR or by indirectly up regulating the expressions of endogenous bHLH regulators. More interestingly, the pH values in petals and leaves from transgenic lines were significant lower than those in both untransformed tobacco and petunia, indicating LcMYB5 is also associated with pH regulation. The expressions of LcMYB5 and its bHLH partner LcbHLH1 were consistent with the expression of putative tissue acidification gene LcPH1, and the changes in malic acid provided further evidence for the close relationship between LcMYB5 and tissue acidification. CONCLUSIONS: Taking together, our study indicated that LcMYB5 is involved in not only anthocyanin biosynthesis but also tissue acidification.