Research Article

Analysis of biochemical compounds and differentially expressed genes of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in variegated peach flowers

Published: October 28, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 13425-13436 DOI: 10.4238/2015.October.28.4

Abstract

Variegated plants are highly valuable in the floricultural market, yet the genetic mechanism underlying this attractive phenomenon has not been completely elucidated. In this study, we identified and measured different compounds in pink and white flower petals of peach (Prunus persica) by high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses. No cyanidin-based or pelargonidin-based compounds were detected in white petals, but high levels of these compounds were found in pink petals. Additionally, we sequenced and analyzed the expression of six key structural genes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway (CHI, CHS, DFR, F3'H, ANS, and UFGT) in both white and pink petals. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed all six genes to be expressed at greatly reduced levels in white flower petals, relative to pink. No allelic variations were found in the transcribed sequences. However, alignment of transcribed and genomic sequences of the ANS gene detected alternative splicing, resulting in transcripts of 1.071 and 942 bp. Only the longer transcript was observed in white flower petals. Since ANS is the key intermediate enzyme catalyzing the colorless leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin to substrates required for completion of anthocyanin biosynthesis, the ANS gene is implicated in flower color variegation and should be explored in future studies. This article, together with a previous transcriptome study, elucidates the mechanism underlying peach flower color variegation in terms of the key structural genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis.

Variegated plants are highly valuable in the floricultural market, yet the genetic mechanism underlying this attractive phenomenon has not been completely elucidated. In this study, we identified and measured different compounds in pink and white flower petals of peach (Prunus persica) by high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses. No cyanidin-based or pelargonidin-based compounds were detected in white petals, but high levels of these compounds were found in pink petals. Additionally, we sequenced and analyzed the expression of six key structural genes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway (CHI, CHS, DFR, F3'H, ANS, and UFGT) in both white and pink petals. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed all six genes to be expressed at greatly reduced levels in white flower petals, relative to pink. No allelic variations were found in the transcribed sequences. However, alignment of transcribed and genomic sequences of the ANS gene detected alternative splicing, resulting in transcripts of 1.071 and 942 bp. Only the longer transcript was observed in white flower petals. Since ANS is the key intermediate enzyme catalyzing the colorless leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin to substrates required for completion of anthocyanin biosynthesis, the ANS gene is implicated in flower color variegation and should be explored in future studies. This article, together with a previous transcriptome study, elucidates the mechanism underlying peach flower color variegation in terms of the key structural genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis.