Molecular characterization of an anthocyanin-related glutathione S-transferase gene in cyclamen.
ABSTRACT Anthocyanins are a subclass of flavonoids and are a major contributor to flower colors ranging from red to blue and purple. Previous studies in model and ornamental plants indicate a member of the glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene family is involved in vacuolar accumulation of anthocyanins. In order to identify the anthocyanin-related GST in cyclamen, degenerate PCR was performed using total RNA from immature young petals. Four candidates of GSTs (CkmGST1 to CkmGST4) were isolated. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that CkmGST3 was closely related to PhAN9, an anthocyanin-related GST of petunia, and this clade was clustered with other known anthocyanin-related GSTs. Expression analysis at different developmental stages of petals revealed that CkmGST3 was strongly expressed in paler pigmented petals than in fully pigmented petals, in contrast to the constitutive expression of the other three candidates during petal development. This expression pattern of CkmGST3 was correlated with those of other anthocyanin biosynthetic genes such as CkmF3'5'H and CkmDFR2. Molecular complementation of Arabidopsis tt19, a knockout mutant of an anthocyanin-related GST gene, demonstrated that CkmGST3 could complement the anthocyanin-less phenotype of tt19. Transgenic plants that expressed the other three CkmGSTs did not show anthocyanin accumulation. These results indicate CkmGST3 functions in anthocyanin accumulation in cyclamen.