Pigmented Soybean (Glycine max) Seed Coats Accumulate Proanthocyanidins during Development

J. J. Todd, L. O. Vodkin
Plant Physiology 1993, 102 (2): 663-670
The dominant I gene inhibits accumulation of anthocyanin pigments in the epidermal layer of soybean (Glycine max) seed coats. Seed-coat color is also influenced by the R locus and by the pubescence color alleles (T, tawny; t, gray). Protein and RNA from cultivars with black (i,R,T) and brown (i,r,T) seed coats are difficult to extract. To determine the nature of the interfering plant products, we examined seed-coat extracts from Clark isogenic lines for flavonoids, anthocyanins, and possible proanthocyanidins by thin-layer chromatography. We show that yellow seed-coat varieties (I) do not accumulate anthocyanins (anthocyanidin glycosides) or proanthocyanidins (polymeric anthocyanidins). Mature, black (i,R,T) and imperfect-black (i,R,t) seed coats contained anthocyanins, whereas mature, brown (i,r,T) and buff (i,r,t) seed coats did not contain anthocyanins. In contrast, all colored (i) genotypes tested positive for the presence of proanthocyanidins by butanol/ HCl and 0.5% vanillin assays. Immature, black (i,R,T) and brown (i,r,T) seed coats contained significant amounts of procyanidin, a 3[prime],4[prime]-hydroxylated proanthocyanidin. Immature, black (i,R,T) or brown (i,r,T) seed-coat extracts also tested positive for the ability to precipitate proteins in a radial diffusion assay and to bind RNA in vitro. Imperfect-black (i,R,t) or buff (i,r,t) seed coats contained lesser amounts of propelargonidin, a 4[prime]-hydroxylated proanthocyanidin. Seed-coat extracts from these genotypes did not have the ability to precipitate protein or bind to RNA. In summary, the dominant I gene controls inhibition of not only anthocyanins but also proanthocyanidins in soybean seed coats. In homozygous recessive i genotypes, the T-t gene pair determines the types of proanthocyanidins present, which is consistent with the hypothesis that the T locus encodes a microsomal 3[prime]-flavonoid hydroxylase.

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