Blue aleurone is a useful and interesting trait in common wheat that was derived from related species. Here, transcriptomes of blue and white aleurone were compared for isolating Blue aleurone 1 (Ba1) transferred from Thinopyrum ponticum. In the genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, only a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, ThMYC4E, had a higher transcript level in blue aleurone phenotype, and was homologous to the genes on chromosome 4 of Triticum aestivum. ThMYC4E carried the characteristic domains (bHLH-MYC_N, HLH and ACT-like) of a bHLH transcription factor, and clustered with genes regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis upon phylogenetic analysis. The over-expression of ThMYC4E regulated anthocyanin biosynthesis with the coexpression of the MYB transcription factor ZmC1 from maize. ThMYC4E existed in the genomes of the addition, substitution and near isogenic lines with the blue aleurone trait derived from Th. ponticum, and could not be detected in any germplasm of T. urartu, T. monococcum, T. turgidum, Aegilops tauschii or T. aestivum, with white aleurone. These results suggested that ThMYC4E was candidate Ba1 gene controlling the blue aleurone trait in T. aestivum genotypes carrying Th. ponticum introgression. The ThMYC4E isolation aids in better understanding the genetic mechanisms of the blue aleurone trait and in its more effective use during wheat breeding.
Li, N., Li, S., Zhang, K., Chen, W., Zhang, B., Wang, D., … Zhang, H. (2017). ThMYC4E, candidate Blue aleurone 1 gene controlling the associated trait in Triticum aestivum. PloS One, 12(7), e0181116. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181116