JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Flower colour and cytochromes P450

Yoshikazu Tanaka, Filippa Brugliera
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 2013 February 19, 368 (1612): 20120432
23297355
Cytochromes P450 play important roles in biosynthesis of flavonoids and their coloured class of compounds, anthocyanins, both of which are major floral pigments. The number of hydroxyl groups on the B-ring of anthocyanidins (the chromophores and precursors of anthocyanins) impact the anthocyanin colour, the more the bluer. The hydroxylation pattern is determined by two cytochromes P450, flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase (F3'H) and flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H) and thus they play a crucial role in the determination of flower colour. F3'H and F3'5'H mostly belong to CYP75B and CYP75A, respectively, except for the F3'5'Hs in Compositae that were derived from gene duplication of CYP75B and neofunctionalization. Roses and carnations lack blue/violet flower colours owing to the deficiency of F3'5'H and therefore lack the B-ring-trihydroxylated anthocyanins based upon delphinidin. Successful redirection of the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway to delphinidin was achieved by expressing F3'5'H coding regions resulting in carnations and roses with novel blue hues that have been commercialized. Suppression of F3'5'H and F3'H in delphinidin-producing plants reduced the number of hydroxyl groups on the anthocyanidin B-ring resulting in the production of monohydroxylated anthocyanins based on pelargonidin with a shift in flower colour to orange/red. Pelargonidin biosynthesis is enhanced by additional expression of a dihydroflavonol 4-reductase that can use the monohydroxylated dihydrokaempferol (the pelargonidin precursor). Flavone synthase II (FNSII)-catalysing flavone biosynthesis from flavanones is also a P450 (CYP93B) and contributes to flower colour, because flavones act as co-pigments to anthocyanins and can cause blueing and darkening of colour. However, transgenic plants expression of a FNSII gene yielded paler flowers owing to a reduction of anthocyanins because flavanones are precursors of anthocyanins and flavones.

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