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Plant physiology

MYB5 and MYB14 Play Pivotal Roles in Seed Coat Polymer Biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula.


PMID 24948832

Abstract

In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), the major MYB protein regulating proanthocyanidin (PA) biosynthesis is TT2, named for the transparent testa phenotype of tt2 mutant seeds that lack PAs in their coats. In contrast, the MYB5 transcription factor mainly regulates seed mucilage biosynthesis and trichome branching, with only a minor role in PA biosynthesis. We here characterize MYB5 and MYB14 (a TT2 homolog) in the model legume Medicago truncatula. Overexpression of MtMYB5 or MtMYB14 strongly induces PA accumulation in M. truncatula hairy roots, and both myb5 and myb14 mutants of M. truncatula exhibit darker seed coat color than wild-type plants, with myb5 also showing deficiency in mucilage biosynthesis. myb5 mutant seeds have a much stronger seed color phenotype than myb14. The myb5 and myb14 mutants accumulate, respectively, about 30% and 50% of the PA content of wild-type plants, and PA levels are reduced further in myb5 myb14 double mutants. Transcriptome analyses of overexpressing hairy roots and knockout mutants of MtMYB5 and MtMYB14 indicate that MtMYB5 regulates a broader set of genes than MtMYB14. Moreover, we demonstrate that MtMYB5 and MtMYB14 physically interact and synergistically activate the promoters of anthocyanidin reductase and leucoanthocyanidin reductase, the key structural genes leading to PA biosynthesis, in the presence of MtTT8 and MtWD40-1. Our results provide new insights into the complex regulation of PA and mucilage biosynthesis in M. truncatula.

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