Natural Variation in CCD4 Promoter Underpins Species-Specific Evolution of Red Coloration in Citrus Peel.

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TitleNatural Variation in CCD4 Promoter Underpins Species-Specific Evolution of Red Coloration in Citrus Peel.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZheng, X, Zhu, K, Sun, Q, Zhang, W, Wang, X, Cao, H, Tan, M, Xie, Z, Zeng, Y, Ye, J, Chai, L, Xu, Q, Pan, Z, Xiao, S, Fraser, PD, Deng, X
JournalMol Plant
Date Published2019 May 16

Carotenoids and apocarotenoids act as phytohormones and volatile precursors that influence plant development and confer aesthetic and nutritional value critical to consumer preference. Citrus fruits display considerable natural variation in carotenoid and apocarotenoid pigments. In this study, using an integrated genetic approach we revealed that a 5' cis-regulatory change at CCD4b encoding CAROTENOID CLEAVAGE DIOXYGENASE 4b is a major genetic determinant of natural variation in C apocarotenoids responsible for red coloration of citrus peel. Functional analyses demonstrated that in addition the known role in synthesizing β-citraurin, CCD4b is also responsible for the production of another important C apocarotenoid pigment, β-citraurinene. Furthermore, analyses of the CCD4b promoter and transcripts from various citrus germplasm accessions established a tight correlation between the presence of a putative 5' cis-regulatory enhancer within an MITE transposon and the enhanced allelic expression of CCD4b in C apocarotenoid-rich red-peeled accessions. Phylogenetic analysis provided further evidence that functional diversification of CCD4b and naturally occurring variation of the CCD4b promoter resulted in the stepwise evolution of red peels in mandarins and their hybrids. Taken together, our findings provide new insights into the genetic and evolutionary basis of apocarotenoid diversity in plants, and would facilitate breeding efforts that aim to improve the nutritional and aesthetic value of citrus and perhaps other fruit crops.

Alternate JournalMol Plant
PubMed ID31102783