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Independent activation of the BoMYB2 gene leading to purple traits in Brassica oleracea

Yan, Chenghuan, An, Guanghui, Zhu, Ting, Zhang, Weiyi, Zhang, Lei, Peng, Liying, Chen, Jiongjiong, Kuang, Hanhui
Theoretical and applied genetics 2019 v.132 no.4 pp. 895-906
Brassica oleracea, alleles, anthocyanins, cabbage, cauliflower, color, cultivars, gene expression regulation, hybrids, inheritance (genetics), kale, kohlrabi, loci, molecular cloning, plant breeding, point mutation, promoter regions, sequence analysis, transposons
KEY MESSAGE: Transposon insertion and point mutation independently activated the BoMYB2 gene in three purple cultivars of Brassica oleracea including kale, kohlrabi, and cabbage. Several varieties of B. oleracea have both green and purple cultivars. In this study, the causal genes for the purple traits in kale, kohlrabi and cabbage were cloned using map-based cloning approach. The purple traits in all three varieties were mapped to the same locus as the BoMYB2 gene in cauliflower. Surprisingly, the insertion of Harbinger transposon of BoMYB2 in cauliflower was not found in purple kale, kohlrabi and cabbage. Sequencing of the BoMYB2 gene in purple kale and purple kohlrabi discovered a 7606 bp CACTA-like transposon in its promoter region. Transient assay and promoter activity study showed that the insertion upregulated the expression of the BoMYB2 gene. On the other hand, the activation of the BoMYB2 gene in purple cabbage was caused by point mutation and/or 1-bp insertion in its promoter region. Sequence analysis of the BoMYB2 gene in different varieties suggested that the activating events most likely occurred independently after the divergence of cabbage, cauliflower, and kale/kohlrabi. Our results not only contribute to a better understanding of anthocyanin inheritance in B. oleracea, but also provide useful information for future hybrid breeding of purple cultivars through combination of different functional alleles of the BoMYB2 gene.