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Colorful Hues: Internal and External Stimuli Control Anthocyanin Accumulation in Fruit


Anthocyanin is an important health-promoting pigment that makes the major contribution to fruit nutritional and commercial value. The anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway is well studied and the key regulatory genes controlling the pathway have been identified in fruit. Anthocyanin accumulation is controlled by developmental, environmental and hormonal cues. Understanding the molecular mechanisms will provide a theoretical foundation for the genetic improvement and breeding of anthocyanin-enriched fruit.

Supervised by Prof. HAN Yuepeng from Wuhan Botanical Garden, research assistant ZHAO Yun reviews the latest progress in the molecular mechanisms of various internal and external stimuli on anthocyanin accumulation, as well as networks associated with the orchestration of transcriptional and epigenetic regulation.

The crucial roles of developmental cues, environmental factors and hormones in fruit anthocyanin accumulation have been presented. Anthocyanin accumulation is organized in a multifaceted hierarchical manner associated with transcriptional and epigenetic regulation. The activator-repressor system is essential for anthocyanin homeostasis and temporal-spatial distribution in fruit. Increasing evidence uncovers the involvement of epigenetic modifications in anthocyanin pigmentation in fruit, such as DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNAs.

Besides, the authors further focus on new discoveries revealing synergistically or antagonistically effects of crosstalk between various signaling pathways and seek confluences between the regulatory networks in the form of a simplified model.

They briefly discuss the current advances on regulatory mechanisms of anthocyanin pigmentation in fruit and define a set of unanswered questions for future research.

Results have been published in the Plant Physiology entitled “Colorful hues: insight into the mechanisms of anthocyanin pigmentation in fruit”. This project was financially supported by grants from the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Hubei provincial Natural Science Foundation, the China Agriculture Research System and the Foundation of Hubei Hongshan Laboratory. (Published: 13 March 2023)

A simplified model of the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation on anthocyanin biosynthesis (Image by WBG)

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