Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2016, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (1): 107-119.DOI: 10.11983/CBB15059

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Plant Color Mutants and the Anthocyanin Pathway

Zhixin Zhu1,2, Yingqing Lu1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
  • Received:2015-03-26 Accepted:2015-07-17 Online:2016-01-01 Published:2016-02-01
  • Contact: Lu Yingqing
  • About author:

    ? These authors contributed equally to this paper

Abstract: Anthocyanins are widely synthesized in seed plants to provide coloration, the end-product of a series of enzymes of the anthocyanin pathway (including CHS, CHI, F3H, F3'H, F3'5'H, DFR, ANS and 3GT), which is then modified by various enzymes and transported to the vacuole for storage. The genes encoding these enzymes are positively regulated by three kinds of transcription factors, including MYB, bHLH and WDR, with variable expression in organs to form the MBW complex. Genetic mutations related to the pathway, either in structural or regulatory genes, often cause unique color varieties that are valued. Although the molecular basis remains unknown for many existing mutants, accumulating cases start to show certain regularity. This review summarizes progress made in the anthocyanin pathway including its regulation and transportation and comments on relevant strategies for understanding the genetic basis of a color mutant. The known molecular mechanisms of commonly seen color mutants are also described.