The Arabidopsis transcription factor MYB12 is a flavonol-specific regulator of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis

Frank Mehrtens, Harald Kranz, Pawel Bednarek, Bernd Weisshaar
Plant Physiology 2005, 138 (2): 1083-96
Comprehensive functional data on plant R2R3-MYB transcription factors is still scarce compared to the manifold of their occurrence. Here, we identified the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) R2R3-MYB transcription factor MYB12 as a flavonol-specific activator of flavonoid biosynthesis. Transient expression in Arabidopsis protoplasts revealed a high degree of functional similarity between MYB12 and the structurally closely related factor P from maize (Zea mays). Both displayed similar target gene specificity, and both activated target gene promoters only in the presence of a functional MYB recognition element. The genes encoding the flavonoid biosynthesis enzymes chalcone synthase, chalcone flavanone isomerase, flavanone 3-hydroxylase, and flavonol synthase were identified as target genes. Hence, our observations further add to the general notion of a close relationship between structure and function of R2R3-MYB factors. High-performance liquid chromatography analyses of myb12 mutant plants and MYB12 overexpression plants demonstrate a tight linkage between the expression level of functional MYB12 and the flavonol content of young seedlings. Quantitative real time reverse transcription-PCR using these mutant plants showed MYB12 to be a transcriptional regulator of CHALCONE SYNTHASE and FLAVONOL SYNTHASE in planta, the gene products of which are indispensable for the biosynthesis of flavonols.

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