, Volume 163, Issue 2, pp 191–196

Leucoanthocyanidins as intermediates in anthocyanidin biosynthesis in flowers of Matthiola incana R. Br.


  • Werner Heller
    • Biologisches Institut II der Universität
  • Lothar Britsch
    • Biologisches Institut II der Universität
  • Gert Forkmann
    • Institut für Biologie II der Universität
  • Hans Grisebach
    • Biologisches Institut II der Universität

DOI: 10.1007/BF00393505

Cite this article as:
Heller, W., Britsch, L., Forkmann, G. et al. Planta (1985) 163: 191. doi:10.1007/BF00393505


(+)Leucopelargonidin [(2R,3S,4R)-3,4,5,7,4′-pentahydroxyflavan] and (+)leucocyanidin [(2R,3S,4R)-3,4,5,7,3′,4′-hexahydroxyflavan] were synthesized from (+)dihydrokaempferol and (+)dihydroquercetin, respectively, by sodium-borohydride reduction. The chemical and optical purity of these compounds was established by ultraviolet, proton-nuclear-magnetic-resonance, and optical-rotatory-dispersion spectroscopy. Supplementation experiments with these leucoanthocyanidins were carried out with genetically defined acyanic flowers of Matthiola incana. Feeding of leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin to line 17 (blocked between dihydroflavonols and anthocyanins) and line 18 (blocked in the chalcone-synthase gene) led to formation of the corresponding anthocyanidin 3-O-glucosides, whereas supplementation of line 19 (blocked in a locus other than line 17 between dihydroflavonols and anthocyanins) did not result in anthocyanin synthesis. The conversion of leucopelargonidin into pelargonidin 3-O-glucoside was further confirmed by incorporation of [4-3H]leucopelargonidin into pelargonidin derivatives. The results are strong indications for the role of leucoanthocyanidins (flavan-3,4-diols) as intermediates in anthocyanin biosynthesis.

Key words

Anthocyanin (biosynthesis)Flavan-3,4-diolleucoanthocyanidinMatthiola (anthocyanin biosynthesis)



proton nuclear magnetic resonance


optical rotatory dispersion

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985