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Cloning and expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in red and white pomegranate

Abstract

Exterior fruit color is an important trait for the evaluation of pomegranate fruit quality, but the molecular mechanism underlying the variation in color between red- and white-fruited pomegranate is poorly understood. In this study, full-length cDNA clones encoding enzymes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis—such as chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase, flavanone 3-hydoxylase, dihydroflavonol 4-reductase, anthocyanidin synthase (ANS), UDP-glucose-flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase, and the R2R3 MYB transcription factor PgMYB—were isolated from fruit peels. In addition, transcript levels of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes were quantitatively measured by real-time PCR in red and white fruits. In both cultivars, two expression peaks for structural genes were detected during fruit development, whereas only one peak was observed—during early development—for PgMYB. While PgMYB is important for flavonoid biosynthesis, other transcription factors appear to also be necessary for the regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis. No anthocyanins were detected in the white cultivar. Peels of white fruits contained transcripts of all identified genes except for PgANS, suggesting that the lack of PgANS expression may be the main factor responsible for the absence of anthocyanins in white pomegranate. PgANS may be the key gene involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis in pomegranate fruit.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31272143) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

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Correspondence to Yanming Fang.

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X. Zhao and Z. Yuan have been equally contributed.

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Zhao, X., Yuan, Z., Feng, L. et al. Cloning and expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in red and white pomegranate. J Plant Res 128, 687–696 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-015-0717-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-015-0717-8

Keywords

  • Anthocyanin
  • Gene cloning
  • Gene expression
  • Pomegranate