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The role of light in the regulation of anthocyanin accumulation in Gerbera hybrida

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In the present work, the pigmentation regulated by light was investigated in ray floret (rf) of Gerbera hybrida. When inflorescences from stage 1 were covered with aluminium foil in vivo the pigmentation of the rf petals was strongly blocked and the gene expression of CHS (Chalcone synthase) and DFR (Dihydroflavonol-4-reductase) was inhibited. Similar results were obtained when the detached rfs were cultured in vitro. Covering of the leaves on the plants resulted in reduced pigmentation compared with the covering of inflorescences in vivo. Removal of the green bracts did not affect the pigmentation significantly and the anthocyanin concentration was maintained at a level similar to that of the control. The ultrastructure of the plastids in rf petals was examined to investigate the possible role of photosynthesis in light regulation of flower pigmentation. Plastids within rf epidermal cells showed a characteristic chloroplast morphology in flowers at stage 2, which deteriorated by stage 3. They then changed to a chromoplast-like structure in fully opened rf petals (stage 6). Similar chromoplast-like structures were observed in the plastids of the rf petals from inflorescences both shaded in vivo and in vitro. Additionally, DCMU, a photosynthetic inhibitor, did not show a significant effect on light-induced anthocyanin accumulation. Our data suggest that light is an important factor for pigmentation of rf petal in Gerbera and the petal itself acts as a light sensor site to perceive the light signal. From the different light qualities evaluated, blue light promoted gene expression of CHS and DFR, and red light enhanced the gene expression of CHS, indicating the photoreceptors responding to blue and red light involved in the photoregulation of flower pigmentation in Gerbera.

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chalcone synthase


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ray floret


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Correspondence to Xiaojing Wang.

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Meng, X., Xing, T. & Wang, X. The role of light in the regulation of anthocyanin accumulation in Gerbera hybrida . Plant Growth Regul 44, 243–250 (2004).

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