Journal Article

Alternative Expression of Vacuolar Iron Transporter and Ferritin Genes Leads to Blue/Purple Coloration of Flowers in Tulip cv. ‘Murasakizuisho’

Kazuaki Shoji, Kazumi Momonoi and Tosiaki Tsuji

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 51, issue 2, pages 215-224
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcp181
Alternative Expression of Vacuolar Iron Transporter and Ferritin Genes Leads to Blue/Purple Coloration of Flowers in Tulip cv. ‘Murasakizuisho’

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
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Flowers of tulip cv. ‘Murasakizuisho’ have a purple perianth except for the bottom region, which is blue in color even though it has the same anthocyanin, delphinidin 3-O-rutinoside, as the entire perianth. The development of the blue coloration in the perianth bottom is due to complexation by anthocyanin, flavonol and iron (Fe), as well as a vacuolar iron transporter, TgVit1. Although transient expression of TgVit1 in the purple cells led to a color change to light blue, the coloration of the transformed cells did not coincide with the dark blue color of the cells of the perianth bottom. We thought that another factor is required for the blue coloration of the cells of perianth bottom. To examine the effect of ferritin (FER), an Fe storage protein, on blue color development, we cloned an FER gene (TgFER1) and performed expression analyses. TgFER1 transcripts were found in the cells located in the upper region of the petals along with purple color development by anthocyanin and were not found in the blue cells of the perianth bottom. This gene expression is in contrast to that of TgVit1, expressed only in the cells of the perianth bottom. Co-expression of TgVIT1 and TgFER-RNAi, constructed for suppressing endogenous TgFER1 by RNA interference (RNAi), changed the purple petal cells to a dark blue color similar to that of the natural perianth bottom. These results strongly suggest that TgVit1 expression and TgFER1 suppression are critical for the development of blue color in the perianth bottom.

Keywords: Anthocyanin; Blue color; Ferritin; Iron; Transporter; Tulip

Journal Article.  5419 words.  Illustrated.

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

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