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Cyanidin based anthocyanin biosynthesis in orange carrot is restored by expression of AmRosea1 and AmDelila, MYB and bHLH transcription factors

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  • Shrikant Sharma
  • ,
  • Inger B Holme
  • Giuseppe Dionisio
  • Miyako Kodama, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Tsaneta Dzhanfezova, Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S, Agern Alle 24, 2970, Hoersholm, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Bjarne Joernsgaard, Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S, Agern Alle 24, 2970, Hoersholm, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Henrik Brinch-Pedersen

KEY MESSAGE: The simultaneous expression of AmRosea1 and AmDelila transcription factors from snapdragon can activate the anthocyanin pathway in orange carrots, leading to the synthesis and accumulation of anthocyanins in the taproots. Anthocyanins are phenolic compounds produced in various parts of plants. They are used as natural food dyes and are reported as beneficial antioxidants for humans. Black carrot is an important source for anthocyanins; however, the reason for the lack of anthocyanin production in the orange carrot is unknown. Anthocyanins are synthesized by a specific branch of the phenylpropanoid pathway that has previously been reported to be activated by a triad of R2R3-MYB, basic helix-loop helix (bHLH) and WD40 transcription factors (TFs). In the current study, orange carrots were turned purple by simultaneous expression of R2R3-MYB and bHLH TFs, i.e. AmRosea1 and AmDelila from snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus). Simultaneous transgenic expression of the TFs under a constitutive promoter in the orange carrot cultivar 'Danvers 126' lead to consistent upregulation of anthocyanin-related biosynthetic genes and significant accumulation of anthocyanins in leaves, stems and taproots. Highest overall content of soluble anthocyanins in the taproot among the transformants amounted to 44.38 mg g-1 dry weight. The anthocyanin profile of the transformants were significantly different from the profile in the reference black carrot 'Deep Purple'. The main anthocyanins present in the transformed taproots were cyanidin 3-xylosyl(sinapoylglucosyl)galactoside, whereas the main anthocyanin present in Deep Purple was cyanidin 3-xylosyl(feruloylglucosyl)galactoside. This study confirms the presence of the necessary biosynthetic genes in orange carrots for production of anthocyanins and demonstrates the absence of suitable R2R3-MYB and bHLH TFs for stimulating anthocyanin biosynthesis in the orange carrot.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Pages (from-to)443-456
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • AmDelila, AmRosea1, Anthocyanins, Black carrots, Daucus carota L, Orange carrots, Transcription factors

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