A R2R3-MYB Transcription Factor Regulates the Flavonol Biosynthetic Pathway in a Traditional Chinese Medicinal Plant, Epimedium sagittatum.
ABSTRACT: Flavonols as plant secondary metabolites with vital roles in plant development and defense against UV light, have been demonstrated to be the main bioactive components (BCs) in the genus Epimedium plants, several species of which are used as materials for Herba Epimedii, an important traditional Chinese medicine. The flavonol biosynthetic pathway genes had been already isolated from Epimedium sagittatum, but a R2R3-MYB transcription factor regulating the flavonol synthesis has not been functionally characterized so far in Epimedium plants. In this study, we isolated and characterized the R2R3-MYB transcription factor EsMYBF1 involved in regulation of the flavonol biosynthetic pathway from E. sagittatum. Sequence analysis indicated that EsMYBF1 belongs to the subgroup 7 of R2R3-MYB family which contains the flavonol-specific MYB regulators identified to date. Transient reporter assay showed that EsMYBF1 strongly activated the promoters of EsF3H (flavanone 3-hydroxylase) and EsFLS (flavonol synthase), but not the promoters of EsDFRs (dihydroflavonol 4-reductase) and EsANS (anthocyanidin synthase) in transiently transformed Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Both yeast two-hybrid assay and transient reporter assay validated EsMYBF1 to be independent of EsTT8, or AtTT8 bHLH regulators of the flavonoid pathway as cofactors. Ectopic expression of EsMYBF1 in transgenic tobacco resulted in the increased flavonol content and the decreased anthocyanin content in flowers. Correspondingly, the structural genes involved in flavonol synthesis were upregulated in the EsMYBF1 overexpression lines, including NtCHS (chalcone synthase), NtCHI (chalcone isomerase), NtF3H and NtFLS, whereas the late biosynthetic genes of the anthocyanin pathway (NtDFR and NtANS) were remarkably downregulated, compared to the controls. These results suggest that EsMYBF1 is a flavonol-specific R2R3-MYB regulator, and involved in regulation of the biosynthesis of the flavonol-derived BCs in E. sagittatum. Thus, identification and functional characterization of EsMYBF1 provide insight into understanding the biosynthesis and regulation of the flavonol-derived BCs in Epimedium plants, and also provide an effective tool gene for genetic manipulation to improve the flavonol synthesis.
Project description:Epimedium species have been widely used both as traditional Chinese medicinal plants and ornamental perennials. Both flavonols, acting as the major bioactive components (BCs) and anthocyanins, predominantly contributing to the color diversity of Epimedium flowers belong to different classes of flavonoids. It is well-acknowledged that flavonoid biosynthetic pathway is predominantly regulated by R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) as well as bHLH TF and WD40 protein at the transcriptional level. MYB TFs specifically regulating anthocyanin or flavonol biosynthetic pathway have been already isolated and functionally characterized from Epimedium sagittatum, but a R2R3-MYB TF involved in regulating both these two pathways has not been functionally characterized to date in Epimedium plants. In this study, we report the functional characterization of EsMYB9, a R2R3-MYB TF previously isolated from E. sagittatum. The previous study indicated that EsMYB9 belongs to a small subfamily of R2R3-MYB TFs containing grape VvMYB5a and VvMYB5b TFs, which regulate flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. The present studies show that overexpression of EsMYB9 in tobacco leads to increased transcript levels of flavonoid pathway genes and increased contents of anthocyanins and flavonols. Yeast two-hybrid assay indicates that the C-terminal region of EsMYB9 contributes to the autoactivation activity, and EsMYB9 interacts with EsTT8 or AtTT8 bHLH regulator. Transient reporter assay shows that EsMYB9 slightly activates the expression of EsCHS (chalcone synthase) promoter in transiently transformed leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana, but the addition of AtTT8 or EsTT8 bHLH regulator strongly enhances the transcriptional activation of EsMYB9 against five promoters of the flavonoid pathway genes except EsFLS (flavonol synthase). In addition, co-transformation of EsMYB9 and EsTT8 in transiently transfected tobacco leaves strongly induces the expressions of flavonoid biosynthetic genes. The potential role of EsMYB9 in modulating the biosynthesis and accumulation of sucrose-induced anthocyanin and flavonol-derived BCs is also discussed. These findings suggest that EsMYB9 is a novel R2R3-MYB TF, which regulates the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway in Epimedium, but distinctly different with the anthocyanin or flavonol-specific MYB regulators identified previously in Epimedium plants.
Project description:Herba epimedii (Epimedium), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been widely used as a kidney tonic and antirheumatic medicine for thousands of years. In Epimedium, flavonoids have been demonstrated to be the main bioactive components (BCs). However, the molecular biosynthetic and regulatory mechanisms of flavonoid-derived BCs remain obscure. In this study, we isolated 12 structural genes and two putative transcription factors (TFs) in the flavonoid pathway. Phytochemical analysis showed that the total content of four representative BCs (epimedin A, B, C, and icariin) decreased slightly or dramatically in two lines of Epimedium sagittatum during leaf development. Transcriptional analysis revealed that two R2R3-MYB TFs (EsMYBA1 and EsMYBF1), together with a bHLH TF (EsGL3) and WD40 protein (EsTTG1), were supposed to coordinately regulate the anthocyanin and flavonol-derived BCs biosynthesis in leaves. Overexpression of EsFLS (flavonol synthase) in tobacco resulted in increased flavonols content and decreased anthocyanins content in flowers. Moreover, EsMYB12 negatively correlated with the accumulation of the four BCs, and might act as a transcriptional repressor in the flavonoid pathway. Therefore, the anthocyanin pathway may coordinate with the flavonol-derived BCs pathway in Epimedium leaves. A better understanding of the flavonoid biosynthetic and regulatory mechanisms in E. sagittatum will facilitate functional characterization, metabolic engineering, and molecular breeding studies of Epimedium species.
Project description:Herba epimedii (Epimedium), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been widely used as a kidney tonic and antirheumatic medicine for thousands of years. The bioactive components in herba epimedii are mainly prenylated flavonol glycosides, end-products of the flavonoid pathway. Epimedium species are also used as garden plants due to the colorful flowers and leaves. Many R2R3-MYB transcription factors (TFs) have been identified to regulate the flavonoid and anthocyanin biosynthetic pathways. However, little is known about the R2R3-MYB TFs involved in regulation of the flavonoid pathway in Epimedium. Here, we reported the isolation and functional characterization of the first R2R3-MYB TF (EsMYBA1) from Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb. Et Zucc.) Maxim. Conserved domains and phylogenetic analysis showed that EsMYBA1 belonged to the subgroup 6 clade (anthocyanin-related MYB clade) of R2R3-MYB family, which includes Arabidopsis AtPAP1, apple MdMYB10 and legume MtLAP1. EsMYBA1 was preferentially expressed in leaves, especially in red leaves that contain higher content of anthocyanin. Alternative splicing of EsMYBA1 resulted in three transcripts and two of them encoded a MYB-related protein. Yeast two-hybrid and transient luciferase expression assay showed that EsMYBA1 can interact with several bHLH regulators of the flavonoid pathway and activate the promoters of dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS). In both transgenic tobacco and Arabidopsis, overexpression of EsMYBA1 induced strong anthocyanin accumulation in reproductive and/or vegetative tissues via up-regulation of the main flavonoid-related genes. Furthermore, transient expression of EsMYBA1 in E. sagittatum leaves by Agrobacterium infiltration also induced anthocyanin accumulation in the wounded area. This first functional characterization of R2R3-MYB TFs in Epimedium species will promote further studies of the flavonoid biosynthesis and regulation in medicinal plants.
Project description:Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb. et Zucc.) Maxim, a popular traditional Chinese medicinal plant, has been widely used for treating sexual dysfunction and osteoporosis in China. The main bioactive components in herba epimedii are prenylated flavonol glycosides, which are end products of a branch of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. The MYB transcription factors (TF) act as activators or repressors to regulate the flavonoid pathway. In this study, 13 full-length cDNA clones of R2R3-MYB TFs from E. sagittatum (designated as EsMYB1 to EsMYB13) were isolated and characterized. Sequence similarity and phylogenetic analysis placed nine R2R3-MYB members of epimedii into five subgroups of the Arabidopsis R2R3-MYB family, while four members were not clustered into a defined subgroup. The number and length of introns from epimedii R2R3-MYB genes varied significantly, but intron positions and phases were well conserved. Expression patterns of epimedii R2R3-MYB genes in various tissues showed diverse. Finally, it is suggested that five epimedii R2R3-MYB genes may be involved in regulating the flavonoid pathway and could be used as valuable candidate genes for metabolic engineering studies in future. Sequence information of 13 R2R3-MYB genes discovered here will also provide an entry point into the overview of whole R2R3-MYB family in epimedii.
Project description:Flavonoids are one of the major plant pigments for flower colour. Not only coloured anthocyanins, but also co-pigment flavones or flavonols, accumulate in flowers. To study the regulation of early flavonoid biosynthesis, two R2R3-MYB transcription factors, GtMYBP3 and GtMYBP4, were identified from the petals of Japanese gentian (Gentiana triflora). Phylogenetic analysis showed that these two proteins belong to the subgroup 7 clade (flavonol-specific MYB), which includes Arabidopsis AtMYB12, grapevine VvMYBF1, and tomato SlMYB12. Gt MYBP3 and Gt MYBP4 transcripts were detected specifically in young petals and correlated with the profiles of flavone accumulation. Transient expression assays showed that GtMYBP3 and GtMYBP4 enhanced the promoter activities of early biosynthetic genes, including flavone synthase II (FNSII) and flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase (F3'H), but not the late biosynthetic gene, flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H). GtMYBP3 also enhanced the promoter activity of the chalcone synthase (CHS) gene. In transgenic Arabidopsis, overexpression of Gt MYBP3 and Gt MYBP4 activated the expression of endogenous flavonol biosynthesis genes and led to increased flavonol accumulation in seedlings. In transgenic tobacco petals, overexpression of Gt MYBP3 and Gt MYBP4 caused decreased anthocyanin levels, resulting in pale flower colours. Gt MYBP4-expressing transgenic tobacco flowers also showed increased flavonols. As far as is known, this is the first functional characterization of R2R3-MYB transcription factors regulating early flavonoid biosynthesis in petals.
Project description:The genes MYB11, MYB12 and MYB111 share significant structural similarity and form subgroup 7 of the Arabidopsis thaliana R2R3-MYB gene family. To determine the regulatory potential of these three transcription factors, we used a combination of genetic, functional genomics and metabolite analysis approaches. MYB11, MYB12 and MYB111 show a high degree of functional similarity and display very similar target gene specificity for several genes of flavonoid biosynthesis, including CHALCONE SYNTHASE, CHALCONE ISOMERASE, FLAVANONE 3-HYDROXYLASE and FLAVONOL SYNTHASE1. Seedlings of the triple mutant myb11 myb12 myb111, which genetically lack a complete subgroup of R2R3-MYB genes, do not form flavonols while the accumulation of anthocyanins is not affected. In developing seedlings, MYB11, MYB12 and MYB111 act in an additive manner due to their differential spatial activity; MYB12 controls flavonol biosynthesis mainly in the root, while MYB111 controls flavonol biosynthesis primarily in cotyledons. We identified and confirmed additional target genes of the R2R3-MYB subgroup 7 factors, including the UDP-glycosyltransferases UGT91A1 and UGT84A1, and we demonstrate that the accumulation of distinct and structurally identified flavonol glycosides in seedlings correlates with the expression domains of the different R2R3-MYB factors. Therefore, we refer to these genes as PFG1-3 for 'PRODUCTION OF FLAVONOL GLYCOSIDES'.
Project description:Anthocyanins are responsible for the different colors of ornamental plants. Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum), a monocot plant with bulbous flowers, is popular for its fascinating blue color. In the present study, we functionally characterized an R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene MaAN2 from M. armeniacum. Our results indicated that MaAN2 participates in controlling anthocyanin biosynthesis. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis suggested that MaAN2 belonged to the R2R3-MYB family AN2 subgroup. The anthocyanin accumulation of grape hyacinth flowers was positively correlated with the expression of MaAN2. And the transcriptional expression of MaAN2 was also consistent with that of M. armeniacum dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (MaDFR) and M. armeniacum anthocyanidin synthase (MaANS) in flowers. A dual luciferase transient expression assay indicated that when MaAN2 was co-inflitrated with Arabidopsis thaliana TRANSPARENT TESTA8 (AtTT8), it strongly activated the promoters of MaDFR and MaANS, but not the promoters of M. armeniacum chalcone synthase (MaCHS), M. armeniacum chalcone isomerase (MaCHI), and M. armeniacum flavanone 3-hydroxylase (MaF3H). Bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay confirmed that MaAN2 interacted with AtTT8 in vivo. The ectopic expression of MaAN2 in Nicotiana tabacum resulted in obvious red coloration of the leaves and much redder flowers. Almost all anthocyanin biosynthetic genes were remarkably upregulated in the leaves and flowers of the transgenic tobacco, and NtAn1a and NtAn1b (two basic helix-loop-helix anthocyanin regulatory genes) were highly expressed in the transformed leaves, compared to the empty vector transformants. Collectively, our results suggest that MaAN2 plays a role in anthocyanin biosynthesis.
Project description:The generation of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) flower color is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins. In the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in chrysanthemum, although all of the structural genes have been cloned, the regulatory function of R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) genes, which play a crucial role in determining anthocyanin accumulation in many ornamental crops, still remains unclear. In our previous study, four light-induced R2R3-MYB TF genes in chrysanthemum were identified using transcriptomic sequencing. In the present study, we further investigated the regulatory functions of these genes via phylogenetic and alignment analyses of amino acid sequences, which were subsequently verified by phenotypic, pigmental, and structural gene expression analyses in transgenic tobacco lines. As revealed by phylogenetic and alignment analyses, CmMYB4 and CmMYB5 were phenylpropanoid and flavonoid repressor R2R3-MYB genes, respectively, while CmMYB6 was an activator of anthocyanin biosynthesis, and CmMYB7 was involved in regulating flavonol biosynthesis. Compared with wild-type plants, the relative anthocyanin contents in the 35S:CmMYB4 and 35S:CmMYB5 tobacco lines significantly decreased (p < 0.05), while for 35S:CmMYB6 and 35S:CmMYB7, the opposite result was obtained. Both in the 35S:CmMYB4 and 35S:CmMYB5 lines, the relative expression of several anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in tobacco was significantly downregulated (p < 0.05); on the contrary, several genes were upregulated in the 35S:CmMYB6 and 35S:CmMYB7 lines. These results indicate that CmMYB4 and CmMYB5 negatively regulate anthocyanin biosynthesis in chrysanthemum, while CmMYB6 and CmMYB7 play a positive role, which will aid in understanding the complex mechanism regulating floral pigmentation in chrysanthemum and the functional divergence of the R2R3-MYB gene family in higher plants.
Project description:We isolated an ortholog (LjMYB12) of the Arabidopsis R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) gene from Lotus japonicus to investigate the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis, which is driven by many paralogous genes in L. japonicus. We characterized the spatial and temporal expression of LjMYB12 in leaves, stems, roots, flowers, immature seeds, seedling leaves, and seedling roots. Expression was much higher in flowers than in other tissues. To verify the relationship between the expression of LjMYB12 and that of flavonoid biosynthesis genes, we generated transgenic L. japonicus plants overexpressing LjMYB12. Overexpression of LjMYB12 resulted in the upregulation of genes for a chalcone synthase paralog (CHS1), flavanone 3-hydroxylase, and flavonol synthase. Interestingly, LjMYB12 strongly activated CHS1 but did not activate other CHS paralogs. This result suggests differences in the spatial or temporal activation of CHS paralogs by R2R3-MYB TFs. Molecular characterization of R2R3-MYB TFs in L. japonicus will reveal the effects of gene duplication on the regulation of diverse flavonoid biosynthesis.
Project description:Flavonoids are a well-studied group of secondary metabolites, belonging to the phenylpropanoid pathway. Flavonoids are known to exhibit health promoting effects such as antioxidant capacities, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Globe artichoke is an important source of bioactive phenolic compounds, including flavonoids. To study the regulation of their biosynthesis, a R2R3-MYB transcription factor, CcMYB12, was isolated from artichoke leaves. Phylogenetic analysis showed that this protein belongs to the MYB subgroup 7 (flavonol-specific MYB), which includes Arabidopsis AtMYB12, grapevine VvMYBF1, and tomato SlMYB12. CcMYB12 transcripts were detected specifically in artichoke immature inflorescence and young leaves and overlapped with the profiles of flavonol biosynthetic genes. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) revealed that recombinant CcMYB12 protein is able to bind to ACII element, a DNA binding site ubiquitously present in the promoters of genes encoding flavonol biosynthetic enzymes. In transgenic Arabidopsis plants, the overexpression of CcMYB12 activated the expression of endogenous flavonol biosynthesis genes, leading to an increase of flavonol accumulation and a decrease of anthocyanins in leaves. Likewise, in transgenic tobacco petals and leaves, the overexpression of CcMYB12 decreased anthocyanin levels and increased flavonols.