Gene regulation networks generate diverse pigmentation patterns in plants

Plant Signaling & Behavior
Nick W AlbertKathy E Schwinn


The diversity of pigmentation patterns observed in plants occurs due to the spatial distribution and accumulation of colored compounds, which may also be associated with structural changes to the tissue. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that provide red/purple/blue coloration to plants, often forming complex patterns such as spots, stripes, and vein-associated pigmentation, particularly in flowers. These patterns are determined by the activity of MYB-bHLH-WDR (MBW) transcription factor complexes, which activate the anthocyanin biosynthesis genes, resulting in anthocyanin pigment accumulation. Recently, we established that the MBW complex controlling anthocyanin synthesis acts within a gene regulation network that is conserved within at least the Eudicots. This network involves hierarchy, reinforcement, and feedback mechanisms that allow for stringent and responsive regulation of the anthocyanin biosynthesis genes. The gene network and mobile nature of the WDR and R3-MYB proteins provide exciting new opportunities to explore the basis of pigmentation patterning, and to investigate the evolutionary history of the MBW components in land plants.


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Related Concepts

Regulation of Biological Process
Entire Vein
Pigment Accumulation
Complex (molecular entity)
Spatial Distribution
Anthocyanin-containing Compound Biosynthetic Process

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