Anthocyanins are essential contributors to fruit coloration, an important quality feature and a breed determining trait of a sweet cherry fruit. It is well established that the biosynthesis of anthocyanins is regulated by an interplay of specific transcription factors belonging to MYB and bHLH families accompanied by a WD40 protein. In this study, we isolated and analyzed PaWD40, PabHLH3, PabHLH33, and several closely related MYB10 gene variants from different cultivars of sweet cherry, analyzed their expression in fruits with different anthocyanin levels at several developmental stages, and determined their capabilities to modulate anthocyanin synthesis in leaves of two Nicotiana species. Our results indicate that transcription level of variant PaMYB10.1-1 correlates with fruit coloration, but anthocyanin synthesis in Nicotiana was induced by another variant, PaMYB10.1-3, which is moderately expressed in fruits. The analysis of two fruit-expressed bHLH genes revealed that PabHLH3 enhances MYB-induced anthocyanin synthesis, whereas PabHLH33 has strong inhibitory properties.
Starkevič, P., Paukštyte, J., Kazanavičiute, V., Denkovskiene, E., Stanys, V., Bendokas, V., … Ražanskas, R. (2015). Expression and anthocyanin biosynthesis-modulating potential of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) MYB10 and bHLH genes. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126991