Cloning and Functional Characterization of Dihydroflavonol 4-Reductase Gene Involved in Anthocyanidin Biosynthesis of Grape Hyacinth.
ABSTRACT: Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) is a popular ornamental plant with bulbous flowers noted for their rich blue color. Muscari species have been thought to accumulate delphinidin and cyanidin rather than pelargonidin-type anthocyanins because their dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) does not efficiently reduce dihydrokaempferol. In our study, we clone a novel DFR gene from blue flowers of Muscari. aucheri. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and anthocyanin analysis showed that the expression pattern of MaDFR had strong correlations with the accumulation of delphinidin, relatively weak correlations with cyanidin, and no correations with pelargonidin. However, in vitro enzymatic analysis revealed that the MaDFR enzyme can reduce all the three types of dihydroflavonols (dihydrokaempferol, dihydroquercetin, and dihydromyricetin), although it most preferred dihydromyricetin as a substrate to produce leucodelphinidin, the precursor of blue-hued delphinidin. This indicated that there may be other functional genes responsible for the loss of red pelargonidin-based pigments in Muscari. To further verify the substrate-specific selection domains of MaDFR, an assay of amino acid substitutions was conducted. The activity of MaDFR was not affected whenever the N135 or E146 site was mutated. However, when both of them were mutated, the catalytic activity of MaDFR was lost completely. The results suggest that both the N135 and E146 sites are essential for the activity of MaDFR. Additionally, the heterologous expression of MaDFR in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) resulted in increasing anthocyanin accumulation, leading to a darker flower color, which suggested that MaDFR was involved in color development in flowers. In summary, MaDFR has a high preference for dihydromyricetin, and it could be a powerful candidate gene for genetic engineering for blue flower colour modification. Our results also make a valuable contribution to understanding the basis of color variation in the genus Muscari.
Project description:Grape hyacinth (<i>Muscari</i> spp.) is a popular ornamental bulbous perennial famous for its blue flowers. To understand the chemical basis of the rich blue colors in this plant, anthocyanin profiles of six blue flowering grape hyacinths as well as one pink and one white cultivar were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Along with two known compounds, eight putative anthocyanins were identified in the tepals of grape hyacinth for the first time. The accumulation and distribution of anthocyanins in the plant showed significant cultivar and flower development specificity. Violet-blue flowers mainly contained simple delphinidin-type anthocyanins bearing one or two methyl-groups but no acyl groups, whereas white and pink flowers synthesised more complex pelargonidin/cyanidin-derivatives with acyl-moieties but no methyl-groups. The results partially reveal why solid blue, orange or red flowers are rare in this plant in nature. In addition, pelargonidin-type anthocyanins were found for the first time in the genus, bringing more opportunities in terms of breeding of flower color in grape hyacinth.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Commercially available poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) varieties prevalently accumulate cyanidin derivatives and show intense red coloration. Orange-red bract color is less common. We investigated four cultivars displaying four different red hues with respect to selected enzymes and genes of the anthocyanin pathway, putatively determining the color hue.<h4>Results</h4>Red hues correlated with anthocyanin composition and concentration and showed common dark red coloration in cultivars 'Christmas Beauty' and 'Christmas Feeling' where cyanidin derivatives were prevalent. In contrast, orange-red bract color is based on the prevalent presence of pelargonidin derivatives that comprised 85% of the total anthocyanin content in cv. 'Premium Red' and 96% in cv. 'Harvest Orange' (synonym: 'Orange Spice'). cDNA clones of flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase (F3'H) and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) were isolated from the four varieties, and functional activity and substrate specificity of the corresponding recombinant enzymes were studied. Kinetic studies demonstrated that poinsettia DFRs prefer dihydromyricetin and dihydroquercetin over dihydrokaempferol, and thus, favor the formation of cyanidin over pelargonidin. Whereas the F3'H cDNA clones of cultivars 'Christmas Beauty', 'Christmas Feeling', and 'Premium Red' encoded functionally active enzymes, the F3'H cDNA clone of cv. 'Harvest Orange' contained an insertion of 28 bases, which is partly a duplication of 20 bases found close to the insertion site. This causes a frameshift mutation with a premature stop codon after nucleotide 132 and, therefore, a non-functional enzyme. Heterozygosity of the F3'H was demonstrated in this cultivar, but only the mutated allele was expressed in the bracts. No correlation between F3'H-expression and the color hue could be observed in the four species.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Rare orange-red poinsettia hues caused by pelargonidin based anthocyanins can be achieved by different mechanisms. F3'H is a critical step in the establishment of orange red poinsettia color. Although poinsettia DFR shows a low substrate specificity for dihydrokaempferol, sufficient precursor for pelargonidin formation is available in planta, in the absence of F3'H activity.
Project description:Vitis bellula is a new grape crop in southern China. Berries of this species are rich in antioxidative anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. This study reports cloning and functional characterization of a cDNA encoding a V. bellula dihydroflavonol reductase (VbDFR) involved in the biosynthesis of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. A cDNA including 1014 bp was cloned from young leaves and its open reading frame (ORF) was deduced encoding 337 amino acids, highly similar to V. vinifera DFR (VvDFR). Green florescence protein fusion and confocal microscopy analysis determined the cytosolic localization of VbDFR in plant cells. A soluble recombinant VbDFR was induced and purified from E. coli for enzyme assay. In the presence of NADPH, the recombinant enzyme catalyzed dihydrokaempferol (DHK) and dihydroquercetin (DHQ) to their corresponding leucoanthocyanidins. The VbDFR cDNA was introduced into tobacco plants via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The overexpression of VbDFR increased anthocyanin production in flowers. Anthocyanin hydrolysis and chromatographic analysis revealed that transgenic flowers produced pelargonidin and delphinidin, which were not detected in control flowers. These data demonstrated that the overexpression of VbDFR produced new tobacco anthocyanidins. In summary, all data demonstrate that VbDFR is a useful gene to provide three types of substrates for metabolic engineering of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in grape crops and other crops.
Project description:Cytochromes P450 play important roles in biosynthesis of flavonoids and their coloured class of compounds, anthocyanins, both of which are major floral pigments. The number of hydroxyl groups on the B-ring of anthocyanidins (the chromophores and precursors of anthocyanins) impact the anthocyanin colour, the more the bluer. The hydroxylation pattern is determined by two cytochromes P450, flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase (F3'H) and flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H) and thus they play a crucial role in the determination of flower colour. F3'H and F3'5'H mostly belong to CYP75B and CYP75A, respectively, except for the F3'5'Hs in Compositae that were derived from gene duplication of CYP75B and neofunctionalization. Roses and carnations lack blue/violet flower colours owing to the deficiency of F3'5'H and therefore lack the B-ring-trihydroxylated anthocyanins based upon delphinidin. Successful redirection of the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway to delphinidin was achieved by expressing F3'5'H coding regions resulting in carnations and roses with novel blue hues that have been commercialized. Suppression of F3'5'H and F3'H in delphinidin-producing plants reduced the number of hydroxyl groups on the anthocyanidin B-ring resulting in the production of monohydroxylated anthocyanins based on pelargonidin with a shift in flower colour to orange/red. Pelargonidin biosynthesis is enhanced by additional expression of a dihydroflavonol 4-reductase that can use the monohydroxylated dihydrokaempferol (the pelargonidin precursor). Flavone synthase II (FNSII)-catalysing flavone biosynthesis from flavanones is also a P450 (CYP93B) and contributes to flower colour, because flavones act as co-pigments to anthocyanins and can cause blueing and darkening of colour. However, transgenic plants expression of a FNSII gene yielded paler flowers owing to a reduction of anthocyanins because flavanones are precursors of anthocyanins and flavones.
Project description:Blue Angelonia × angustifolia flowers can show spontaneous mutations resulting in white/blue and white flower colourations. In such a white line, a loss of dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) activity was observed whereas chalcone synthase and flavanone 3-hydroxylase activity remained unchanged. Thus, cloning and characterization of a DFR of Angelonia flowers was carried out for the first time. Two full length DFR cDNA clones, Ang.DFR1 and Ang.DFR2, were obtained from a diploid chimeral white/blue Angelonia × angustifolia which demonstrated a 99% identity in their translated amino acid sequence. In comparison to Ang.DFR2, Ang.DFR1 was shown to contain an extra proline in a proline-rich region at the N-terminus along with two exchanges at the amino acids 12 and 26 in the translated amino acid sequence. The recombinant Ang.DFR2 obtained by heterologous expression in yeast was functionally active catalyzing the NADPH dependent reduction of dihydroquercetin (DHQ) and dihydromyricetin (DHM) to leucocyanidin and leucomyricetin, respectively. Dihydrokaempferol (DHK) in contrast was not accepted as a substrate despite the presence of asparagine in a position assumed to determine DHK acceptance. We show that substrate acceptance testing of DFRs provides biased results for DHM conversion if products are extracted with ethyl acetate. Recombinant Ang.DFR1 was inactive and functional activity could only be restored via exchanges of the amino acids in position 12 and 26 as well as the deletion of the extra proline. E. coli transformation of the pGEX-6P-1 vector harbouring the Ang.DFR2 and heterologous expression in E. coli resulted in functionally active enzymes before and after GST tag removal. Both the GST fusion protein and purified DFR minus the GST tag could be stored at -80°C for several months without loss of enzyme activity and demonstrated identical substrate specificity as the recombinant enzyme obtained from heterologous expression in yeast.
Project description:Dihydroflavonol-4-reductase (DFR) is a key enzyme in the reduction of dihydroflavonols to leucoanthocyanidins in both anthocyanin biosynthesis and proanthocyanidin accumulation. In many plant species, it is encoded by a gene family, however, how the different copies evolve either to function in different tissues or at different times or to specialize in the use of different but related substrates needs to be further investigated, especially in monocot plants. In this study, a total of eight putative DFR-like genes were firstly cloned from Freesia hybrida. Phylogenetic analysis showed that they were classified into different branches, and FhDFR1, FhDFR2, and FhDFR3 were clustered into DFR subgroup, whereas others fell into the group with cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR) proteins. Then, the functions of the three FhDFR genes were further characterized. Different spatio-temporal transcription patterns and levels were observed, indicating that the duplicated FhDFR genes might function divergently. After introducing them into Arabidopsis dfr (tt3-1) mutant plants, partial complementation of the loss of cyanidin derivative synthesis was observed, implying that FhDFRs could convert dihydroquercetin to leucocyanidin in planta. Biochemical assays also showed that FhDFR1, FhDFR2, and FhDFR3 could utilize dihydromyricetin to generate leucodelphinidin, while FhDFR2 could also catalyze the formation of leucocyanidin from dihydrocyanidin. On the contrary, neither transgenic nor biochemical analysis demonstrated that FhDFR proteins could reduce dihydrokaempferol to leucopelargonidin. These results were consistent with the freesia flower anthocyanin profiles, among which delphinidin derivatives were predominant, with minor quantities of cyanidin derivatives and undetectable pelargonidin derivatives. Thus, it can be deduced that substrate specificities of DFRs were the determinant for the categories of anthocyanins aglycons accumulated in F. hybrida. Furthermore, we also found that the divergence of the expression patterns for FhDFR genes might be controlled at transcriptional level, as the expression of FhDFR1/FhDFR2 and FhDFR3 was controlled by a potential MBW regulatory complex with different activation efficiencies. Therefore, it can be concluded that the DFR-like genes from F. hybrida have diverged during evolution to play partially overlapping roles in the flavonoid biosynthesis, and the results will contribute to the study of evolution of DFR gene families in angiosperms, especially for monocot plants.
Project description:Various colored cultivars of ornamental flowers have been bred by hybridization and mutation breeding; however, the generation of blue flowers for major cut flower plants, such as roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations, has not been achieved by conventional breeding or genetic engineering. Most blue-hued flowers contain delphinidin-based anthocyanins; therefore, delphinidin-producing carnation, rose, and chrysanthemum flowers have been generated by overexpression of the gene encoding flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H), the key enzyme for delphinidin biosynthesis. Even so, the flowers are purple/violet rather than blue. To generate true blue flowers, blue pigments, such as polyacylated anthocyanins and metal complexes, must be introduced by metabolic engineering; however, introducing and controlling multiple transgenes in plants are complicated processes. We succeeded in generating blue chrysanthemum flowers by introduction of butterfly pea UDP (uridine diphosphate)-glucose:anthocyanin 3',5'-O-glucosyltransferase gene, in addition to the expression of the Canterbury bells F3'5'H. Newly synthesized 3',5'-diglucosylated delphinidin-based anthocyanins exhibited a violet color under the weakly acidic pH conditions of flower petal juice and showed a blue color only through intermolecular association, termed "copigmentation," with flavone glucosides in planta. Thus, we achieved the development of blue color by a two-step modification of the anthocyanin structure. This simple method is a promising approach to generate blue flowers in various ornamental plants by metabolic engineering.
Project description:A recall campaign for commercial, orange flowering petunia varieties in spring 2017 caused economic losses worldwide. The orange varieties were identified as undeclared genetically engineered (GE)-plants, harboring a maize dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR, A1), which was used in former scientific transgenic breeding attempts to enable formation of orange pelargonidin derivatives from the precursor dihydrokaempferol (DHK) in petunia. How and when the A1 cDNA entered the commercial breeding process is unclear. We provide an in-depth analysis of three orange petunia varieties, released by breeders from three countries, with respect to their transgenic construct, transcriptomes, anthocyanin composition, and flavonoid metabolism at the level of selected enzymes and genes. The two possible sources of the A1 cDNA in the undeclared GE-petunia can be discriminated by PCR. A special version of the A1 gene, the A1 type 2 allele, is present, which includes, at the 3'-end, an additional 144 bp segment from the non-viral transposable Cin4-1 sequence, which does not add any functional advantage with respect to DFR activity. This unequivocally points at the first scientific GE-petunia from the 1980s as the A1 source, which is further underpinned e.g., by the presence of specific restriction sites, parts of the untranslated sequences, and the same arrangement of the building blocks of the transformation plasmid used. Surprisingly, however, the GE-petunia cannot be distinguished from native red and blue varieties by their ability to convert DHK in common in vitro enzyme assays, as DHK is an inadequate substrate for both the petunia and maize DFR. Recombinant maize DFR underpins the low DHK acceptance, and, thus, the strikingly limited suitability of the A1 protein for a transgenic approach for breeding pelargonidin-based flower color. The effect of single amino acid mutations on the substrate specificity of DFRs is demonstrated. Expression of the A1 gene is generally lower than the petunia DFR expression despite being under the control of the strong, constitutive p35S promoter. We show that a rare constellation in flavonoid metabolism-absence or strongly reduced activity of both flavonol synthase and B-ring hydroxylating enzymes-allows pelargonidin formation in the presence of DFRs with poor DHK acceptance.
Project description:Flower color is an important characteristic that determines the commercial value of ornamental plants. Gentian flowers occur in a limited range of colors because this species is not widely cultivated as a cut flower. Gentiana lutea L. var. aurantiaca (abbr, aurantiaca) is characterized by its orange flowers, but the specific pigments responsible for this coloration are unknown. We therefore investigated the carotenoid and flavonoid composition of petals during flower development in the orange-flowered gentian variety of aurantiaca and the yellow-flowered variety of G. lutea L. var. lutea (abbr, lutea). We observed minor varietal differences in the concentration of carotenoids at the early and final stages, but only aurantiaca petals accumulated pelargonidin glycosides, whereas these compounds were not found in lutea petals. We cloned and sequenced the anthocyanin biosynthetic gene fragments from petals, and analyzed the expression of these genes in the petals of both varieties to determine the molecular mechanisms responsible for the differences in petal color. Comparisons of deduced amino acid sequences encoded by the isolated anthocyanin cDNA fragments indicated that chalcone synthase (CHS), chalcone isomerase (CHI), anthocyanidin synthase 1 (ANS1) and ANS2 are identical in both aurantiaca and lutea varieties whereas minor amino acid differences of the deduced flavonone 3-hydroxylase (F3H) and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) between both varieties were observed. The aurantiaca petals expressed substantially higher levels of transcripts representing CHS, F3H, DFR, ANS and UDP-glucose:flavonoid-3-O-glucosyltransferase genes, compared to lutea petals. Pelargonidin glycoside synthesis in aurantiaca petals therefore appears to reflect the higher steady-state levels of pelargonidin synthesis transcripts. Moreover, possible changes in the substrate specificity of DFR enzymes may represent additional mechanisms for producing red pelargonidin glycosides in petals of aurantiaca. Our report describing the exclusive accumulation of pelargonidin glycosides in aurantiaca petals may facilitate the modification of gentian flower color by the production of red anthocyanins.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phalaenopsis represents an important cash crop worldwide. Abundant flower colors observed in Phalaenopsis orchids range from red-purple, purple, purple-violet, violet, and violet-blue. However, violet-blue orchids are less bred than are those of other colors. Anthocyanin, vacuolar pH and metal ions are three major factors influencing flower color. This study aimed to identify the factors causing the violet-blue color in Phalaenopsis flowers and to analyze whether delphinidin accumulation and blue pigmentation formation can be achieved by transient overexpression of heterologous F3'5'H in Phalaenopsis. RESULTS:Cyanidin-based anthocyanin was highly accumulated in Phalaenopsis flowers with red-purple, purple, purple-violet, and violet to violet-blue color, but no true-blue color and no delphinidin was detected. Concomitantly, the expression of PeF3'H (Phalaenopsis equestrsis) was high, but that of PhF3'5'H (Phalaenopsis hybrid) was low or absent in various-colored Phalaenopsis flowers. Transient overexpression of DgF3'5'H (Delphinium grandiflorum) and PeMYB2 in a white Phalaenopsis cultivar resulted a 53.6% delphinidin accumulation and a novel blue color formation. In contrast, transient overexpression of both PhF3'5'H and PeMYB2 did not lead to delphinidin accumulation. Sequence analysis showed that the substrate recognition site 6 (SRS6) of PhF3'5'H was consistently different from DgF3'5'Hs at positions 5, 8 and 10. Prediction of molecular docking of the substrates showed a contrary binding direction of aromatic rings (B-ring) with the SRS6 domain of DgF3'5'H and PhF3'5'H. In addition, the pH values of violet-blue and purple Phalaenopsis flowers ranged from 5.33 to 5.54 and 4.77 to 5.04, respectively. Furthermore, the molar ratio of metal ions (including Al3+, Ca2+ and Fe3+) to anthocyanin in violet-blue color Phalaenopsis was 190-, 49-, and 51-fold higher, respectively, than those in purple-color Phalaenopsis. CONCLUSION:Cyanidin-based anthocyanin was detected in violet-blue color Phalaenopsis and was concomitant with a high pH value and high molar ratio of Al3+, Ca2+ and Fe3+ to anthocyanin content. Enhanced expression of delphinidin is needed to produce true-blue Phalaenopsis.