All cDNAs involved in carotenoid biosynthesis leading to lycopene in yellow petals of Gentiana lutea have been cloned from a cDNA library. They encode a geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase, a phytoene synthase, a phytoene desaturase and a ζ-carotene desaturase. The indicated function of all cDNAs was established by heterologous complementation in Escherichia coli. The amino acid sequences deduced from the cDNAs were between 47.5% and 78.9% identical to those reported for the corresponding enzymes from other higher plants. Southern analysis suggested that the genes for each enzyme probably represent a small multi-gene family. Tissue-specific expression of the genes and expression during flower development was investigated. The expression of the phytoene synthase gene, psy, was enhanced in flowers but transcripts were not detected in stems and leaves by northern blotting. Transcripts of the genes for geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (ggpps), phytoene desaturase (pds) and ζ-carotene desaturase (zds) were detected in flowers and leaves but not in stems. Analysis of the expression of psy and zds in petals revealed that levels of the transcripts were lowest in young buds and highest in fully open flowers, in parallel with the formation of carotenoids. Obviously, the transcription of these genes control the accumulation of carotenoids during flower development in G. lutea. For pds only a very slight increase of mRNA was found whereas the transcripts of ggpps decreased during flower development.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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