Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 831–843 | Cite as

LcGST4 is an anthocyanin-related glutathione S-transferase gene in Litchi chinensis Sonn.

  • Bing Hu
  • Jietang Zhao
  • Biao Lai
  • Yonghua Qin
  • Huicong Wang
  • Guibing HuEmail author
Original Article


Key message

A novel LcGST4 was identified and characterized from Litchi chinensis . Expression and functional analysis demonstrated that it might function in anthocyanin accumulation in litchi.


Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) have been defined as detoxification enzymes for their ability to recognize reactive electrophilic xenobiotic molecules as well as endogenous secondary metabolites. Anthocyanins are among the few endogenous substrates of GSTs for vacuolar accumulation. The gene encoding a GST protein that is involved in anthocyanin sequestration from Litchi chinensis Sonn. has not been reported. Here, LcGST4, an anthocyanin-related GST, was identified and characterized. Phylogenetic analysis showed that LcGST4 was clustered with other known anthocyanin-related GSTs in the same clade. Expression analysis revealed that the expression pattern of LcGST4 was strongly correlated with anthocyanin accumulation in litchi. ABA- and light-responsive elements were found in the LcGST4 promoter, which is in agreement with the result that the expression of LcGST4 was induced by both ABA and debagging treatment. A GST activity assay in vitro verified that the LcGST4 protein shared universal activity with the GST family. Functional complementation of an Arabidopsis mutant tt19 demonstrated that LcGST4 might function in anthocyanin accumulation in litchi. Dual luciferase assay revealed that the expression of LcGST4 was activated by LcMYB1, a key R2R3-MYB transcription factor that regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis in litchi.


Anthocyanin Litchi chinensis Sonn. Glutathione S-transferase 



Abscisic acid


ATP binding cassette








Days after anthesis


Glutathione S-transferase


Multidrug and toxic compound extrusion


UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase



The project was supported by the Special Fund for Agro-Scientific Research in the Public Interest (Project No. 20090344-5), the China Litchi and Longan Industry Technology Research System (Project No. CARS-33), the National Natural Science Fund of China (Project No. 30971985) and YangFan Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Project (No. 2014YT02H013). The authors thank Satoshi Kitamura for kindly providing tt19-1 seeds, and George P. Lomonossoff for providing the pEAQ-HT plasmid.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bing Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jietang Zhao
    • 1
  • Biao Lai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yonghua Qin
    • 1
  • Huicong Wang
    • 2
  • Guibing Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources, College of HorticultureSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Physiological Laboratory for South China Fruits, College of HorticultureSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina

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