Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 189–198 | Cite as

Expression differences of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes reveal regulation patterns for red pear coloration

  • Ya-nan Yang
  • Gai-fang Yao
  • Danman Zheng
  • Shao-ling Zhang
  • Chao Wang
  • Ming-yue Zhang
  • Jun Wu
Original Paper


Key message

This research reveals the different expression patterns of anthocyanin biosynthesis enzyme genes and transcription factors in six red-skinned pear cultivars with different genetic backgrounds.


Skin color is an important feature of pear fruits, with red skin generally attracting consumers. However, great differences of coloration exist in different pear cultivars. To elucidate the characteristics of pigmentation in pear cultivars with different genetic backgrounds, six cultivars, belonging to P. communis, P. pyrifolia, P. ussuriensis, P. bretschneideri, and a hybrid of P. communis × P. pyrifolia, were used to detect pigment concentrations, expressions of seven anthocyanin biosynthesis enzyme genes, and three related transcription factor genes. Results showed that the occidental pears ‘Starkrimson’ and ‘Red Bartlett’ colored at the beginning of fruit setting, but color decreased with fruit maturity; the other four cultivars showed low anthocyanin accumulations and the contents increased during fruit development, but also decreased at later stages. The expression patterns of genes encoding enzymes indicated that ANS and UFGT were decisive genes for anthocyanin biosynthesis for red-skinned pear, and their different expressions led to the coloration differences between occidental and oriental pears. The expression patterns of transcription factors indicated that the different co-expression of MYB10 and bHLH33 genes and the different expressions of WD40 are involved in the differential regulation mechanisms of anthocyanin biosynthesis and coloration pattern between occidental and oriental pears.


Pear Red color Anthocyanin Gene expression 



Anthocyanin synthase


Basic helix loop helix


Chalcone isomerase


Chalcone synthase


Days after full bloom


DihydroXavonol 4-reductase




Flavanone 3-hydroxylase


Phenylalanine ammonialyase


Standard error


Transcript factor


Threshold cycle


UDP-glucose: flavonoid-3-O-glucosyltransferase


Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction



The work was financially supported by the National Science Foundation of China (31372045) ,Ministry of Education Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-13-0864),and the Earmarked Fund for China Agriculture Research System (No.CARS-29).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

299_2014_1698_MOESM1_ESM.doc (109 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 109 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ya-nan Yang
    • 1
  • Gai-fang Yao
    • 1
  • Danman Zheng
    • 2
  • Shao-ling Zhang
    • 1
  • Chao Wang
    • 1
  • Ming-yue Zhang
    • 1
  • Jun Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of Pear Engineering Technology ResearchNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Roy J. Carver Biotechnology CenterUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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