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Coordinated regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) fruit by a R2R3 MYB transcription factor

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Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) is a fruit crop with cultivars producing fruit ranging from white (Shuijing, SJ) to red (Dongkui, DK) and dark red-purple (Biqi, BQ), as a result of different levels of anthocyanin accumulation. Genes encoding the anthocyanin biosynthesis enzymes chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase, flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H), flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase (F3′H), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) and UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT), as well as MrMYB1, a R2R3 MYB transcription factor homologous to known activators of anthocyanin biosynthesis, were isolated from ripe fruit of BQ. Differences in mRNA abundance of MrF3H, MrF3′H, MrDFR1, MrANS and MrUFGT were highly correlated with differential accumulation of anthocyanins between cultivars, suggesting coordinated regulation by transcription factors. The transcript level of MrMYB1 was strongly associated with the anthocyanin content in ripe fruit of the three cultivars, as well as different anthocyanin containing tissues of BQ fruit. Fruit bagging strongly inhibited anthocyanin accumulation in fruit as well as the expression of all anthocyanin biosynthetic genes and MrMYB1. Over-expression of MrMYB1 stimulated both anthocyanin accumulation and activated an Arabidopsis-DFR promoter in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). MrMYB1d, an allele with a 1 bp deletion at nucleotide 30 of coding sequence, was observed in SJ and DK fruit, suggesting that a nonsense mutation of the MYB1 protein may be responsible for no or low expression of MYB1 in the white and red fruit. These results show that coordinated expression of multiple biosynthetic genes is involved in anthocyanin accumulation in Chinese bayberry fruit, and this is regulated by MrMYB1.

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Anthocyanidin synthase






Coding sequence


Chalcone isomerase


Chalcone synthase


Days after full bloom


Dihydroflavonol 4-reductase




Early biosynthetic genes


Flavanone 3-hydroxylase


Flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase


Late biosynthetic genes


Firefly luciferase


Real-time quantitative PCR


Renilla luciferase




Transcription factors


UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase


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This research was supported by the Special Scientific Research Fund of Agricultural Public Welfare Profession of China (200903044), the National Research and Development Project of Transgenic Crops of China (2009ZX08009-122B), the 948 project, the Science and Technology Project of Zhejiang Province (2006C14016, 2009C14023), the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (20090101110099), the Science Foundation of Chinese University, and the 111 project (No. B06014). It is part of a collaborative programme between Zhejiang University, China, and the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, NZ.

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Correspondence to Kun-Song Chen.

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S.-S. Niu and C.-J. Xu contributed equally to this work.

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Niu, SS., Xu, CJ., Zhang, WS. et al. Coordinated regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) fruit by a R2R3 MYB transcription factor. Planta 231, 887–899 (2010).

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