Comparative transcriptome analyses reveal genes related to pigmentation in the petals of red and white Primula vulgaris cultivars.Physiol Mol Biol Plants 2019; 25(4):1029-1041PM
Primula vulgaris is an important ornamental plant species with various flower color. To explore the molecular mechanism of its color formation, comparative transcriptome analyses of the petals in red and white cultivars was performed. A total of 4451 differentially expressed genes were identified and annotated into 128 metabolic pathways. Candidate genes FLS, F3'H, DFR, ANS and AOMT in the anthocyanin pathway were expressed significantly higher in the red cultivar than the white and may be responsible for the red coloration. In the red petals, a putative transcription factors bHLH (c52273.graph_c0) was up-regulated about 14-fold, while a R2R3-MYB unigene (c36140.graph_c0) was identified as a repressor involved in anthocyanin regulation and was significantly down-regulated. In addition, the anatomy analyses and pigments composition in the red and white petals were also analyzed. The papillae on the adaxial epidermis of the red petals of P. vulgaris display a triangle-shapes, in contrast with a spherical shape for the white petals. Although flavonoids were detected in both cultivars, anthocyanins could only be identified in the red cultivar. Gossypetin and peonidin/rosinin were the most abundant pigments in red petals. This study shed light on the genetic and biochemistry mechanisms underlying the flower coloration in Primula.