Journal Article

Dihydroflavonol 4-reductase<b><i> </i></b>cDNA from non-Anthocyanin-Producing Species in the Caryophyllales

Setsuko Shimada, Kana Takahashi, Yuka Sato and Masaaki Sakuta

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 45, issue 9, pages 1290-1298
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Dihydroflavonol 4-reductase cDNA from non-Anthocyanin-Producing Species in the Caryophyllales

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Two types of red pigment, anthocyanins and betacyanins, never occur together in the same plant. Although anthocyanins are widely distributed in higher plants as flower and fruit pigments, betacyanins have replaced anthocyanins in the Caryophyllales. We isolated cDNAs encoding dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), which is the first enzyme committed to anthocyanin biosynthesis in the flavonoid pathway, from Spinacia oleracea and Phytolacca americana, plants that belong to the Caryophyllales. The deduced amino acid sequence of Spinacia DFR and Phytolacca DFR revealed a high degree of homology with DFRs of anthocyanin-producing plants. The DFR of carnation, an exception in the Caryophyllales that synthesizes anthocyanin, showed the highest level of identity. In the phylogenetic tree, Spinacia DFR and Phytolacca DFR clustered with the DFRs of anthocyanin-synthesizing dicots. Recombinant Spinacia and Phytolacca DFRs expressed in Escherichia coli convert dihydroflavonol to leucoanthocyanidin. The expression and function of DFR in spinach and pokeweed are discussed in relation to the molecular evolution of red pigment biosynthesis in higher plants.

Keywords: Keywords: Anthocyanin biosynthesis — Caryophyllales — Dihydroflavonol 4-reductase — Phytolacca americana — Spinacia oleracea.; Abbreviations: ANR, anthocyanidin reductase; ANS, anthocyanidin synthase; DFR, dihydroflavonol 4-reductase; DMACA, dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde; RACE, rapid amplification of cDNA ends; RT–PCR, reverse transcription–PCR; TLC, thin layer chromatography.

Journal Article.  5604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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