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Characterization and Analysis of Anthocyanin-Related Genes in Wild-Type Blueberry and the Pink-Fruited Mutant Cultivar ‘Pink Lemonade’: New Insights into Anthocyanin Biosynthesis
- Jones Richard W., Jose V. Die, Richard W. Jones, Elizabeth L. Ogden, Mark K. Ehlenfeldt, Lisa J. Rowland
- Agronomy 2020 v.10 no.9 pp. -
- Vaccinium, anthocyanins, antioxidants, biosynthesis, blueberries, cultivars, fruiting, fruits, mutants, phenotype, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, regulator genes, sequence analysis, structural genes, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, vegetables
- Blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, among fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanin mutants, like the pink-fruited cultivar ‘Pink Lemonade’, are valuable resources for investigating anthocyanin biosynthesis in blueberries. In this study, we examined expression of flavonoid pathway genes during fruit development in wild-type, blue-fruited blueberries using quantitative real-time PCR. Expression was also compared between wild-type and the pink-fruited ‘Pink Lemonade’. This revealed significantly lower expression in ‘Pink Lemonade’ than in wild-type of nearly all the structural genes examined suggesting that a transcriptional regulator of the pathway was affected. Hence, we compared expression of three known regulatory genes and found that the gene encoding the transcription factor MYB1 was expressed at a significantly lower level in ‘Pink Lemonade’ than in the wild-type. To validate the capacity of this MYB1 to regulate the transcription of anthocyanin genes in blueberries, a transient expression assay was conducted. Results indicated MYB1 overexpression enhanced anthocyanin production. Comparative sequence analysis between wild-type and mutant MYB1 variants found differences in highly conserved features suggesting a mechanistic explanation for the mutant phenotype. Collectively, the results presented here contribute to a better understanding of mechanisms regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis in Vaccinium.