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Functional MYB transcription factor encoding gene AN2 is associated with anthocyanin biosynthesis in Lycium ruthenicum Murray

Zong, Yuan, Zhu, Xuebing, Liu, Zenggen, Xi, Xinyuan, Li, Guomin, Cao, Dong, Wei, Le, Li, Jianming, Liu, Baolong
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 169
Lycium barbarum, Lycium ruthenicum, Ziziphus, alleles, amino acids, anthocyanins, biosynthesis, breeding, cultivars, fruiting, functional diversity, genetic variation, genetically modified organisms, introns, leaves, new variety, phylogeny, sequence diversity, tissues, tobacco, transcription factors, transcriptomics, China
BACKGROUND: Lycium ruthenicum Murray is an important economic plant in China and contains higher levels of anthocyanins in its fruits than other Lyciums. However, the genetic mechanism of anthocyanin production in this plant is unknown. RESULTS: Based on previous transcriptome analysis, LrAN2 and LbAN2, encoding MYB transcription factors, were isolated from L. ruthenicum and L. barbarum, respectively. Both genes contained two introns, encoded 257 amino acids with two-Aa difference, and carried the unabridged HTH-MYB, MYB-like DNA-binding, and SANT domains. In the phylogenetic trees, LrAN2 and LbAN2 were found to be closely related to NtAN2, which regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis in tobacco. Overexpression of LrAN2 and LbAN2 induced anthocyanin biosynthesis in all tissues of tobacco. The anthocyanin content in the leaves of transgenic lines with LbAN2 was lower than LrAN2. It indicated that the function of LbAN2 was weaker than LrAN2. The AN2 transcript could be detected only in the fruits of L. ruthenicum and increased during fruit development, accompanied by anthocyanin accumulation. In natural population, the alleles LrAN2 and LrAN2 were associated strictly with L. ruthenicum and L. barbarum, respectively. Moreover, an AN2 genetic diversity study suggested that Lyciums with yellow, white, purple, and jujube red fruits were derived from L. ruthenicum. CONCLUSIONS: Two AN2 alleles, from L. ruthenicum and L. barbarum, were functional MYB transcriptor regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis. The functional diversity and high expression level of LrAN2 could be the reason for high anthocyanin content in the fruit of L. ruthenicum. Lyciums with yellow, white, purple, and jujube red fruits were derived from L. ruthenicum based on AN2 sequence diversity. The results may be advantageous in identifying new varieties and breeding new cultivars.