Structural Genes of Anthocyanin Biosynthesis in Wheat

The anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway (ABP) is one of the branches of the whole flavonoid biosynthesis pathway (Winkel-Shirley 2001). The genes encoding enzymes are referred as structural genes. Most structural genes needed for anthocyanin biosynthesis have been studied in wheat (Table 16.1).

Two copies of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase gene (Pal) have been isolated from the same phage clone of the wheat genomic library (Li and Liao 2003). A total of six loci for the Pal gene have been mapped to chromosomes of homoeologous group 3 and 6 using Southern blot hybridization method with the nucleotide sequence of the maize Pal gene as a probe (Li et al. 1999; Table 16.1). Similarly, six loci for the chalcone synthase gene (Chs) have been identified in homoeologous group 1 and 2 chromosomes (Li et al. 1999). Only four full-length nucleotide sequences of this gene have been isolated thus far (Yang et al. 2004).

Three loci for chalcone-flavanone isomerase (Chi) have been assigned to homoeologous group 5 chromosomes using Southern blot hybridization method with nucleotide sequence of the maize Chi gene as a probe (Li et al. 1999). One partial sequence of the Chi gene was reported by Himi et al. (2005). Then, three homoeologous full-length Chi copies were isolated and precisely mapped to the long arms of 5 group chromosomes (Shoeva et al. 2014a).

Four copies of the flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3h) gene are present in wheat genome (Khlestkina et al. 2008, 2013; Himi et al. 2011). These copies have been mapped to chromosomes 2AL, 2BL (two copies) and 2DL (Khlestkina et al. 2011). The genes for flavonoid 3′5′-hydroxylase (F35h) and flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase (F3h) belong to the gene family of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (Tanaka

Table 16.1 Known structural genes encoding enzymes needed for anthocyanin biosynthesis in wheat


Cloning method

Number of cloning copies

GeneBank accession number, references

Mapping/ chromosome location, references


Phage library screening

2 full-length, genomic DNA

X99705 (Li and Liao 2003)

3A, 3B, 3D, 6A, 6B,

6D (Li et al. 1999)


Cloning of the

PCR-product + RACE

4 full-length, cDNA

AY286093, AY286095, AY286096, AY286097

(Yang et al. 2004)

1A, 1B, 1D, 2A, 2B,

2D (Li et al. 1999)


Cloning of the PCR-product

3 full-length, genomic DNA

AB187026 (Himi et al. 2005); JN039037, JN039038, JN039039

(Shoeva et al. 2014a)

5AL, 5BL, 5DL

(Li et al. 1999; Shoeva et al. 2014a)


Cloning of the PCR-product

4 full-length, genomic DNA

EF463100, DQ233636, EU402957, EU402958

(Khlestkina et al. 2008); AB223024, AB223025,

AB223026 (Himi et al. 2011); JN384122

(Khlestkina et al. 2013)

2AL, 2BL (2 genes), 2DL (Himi et al.

2011; Khlestkina

et al. 2011)


Cloning of the PCR-product

1 partial, cDNA

AY519468 (Yang et al. 2004)


Cloning of the

PCR-product + RACE

3 full-length, cDNA

AB162138, AB162139,

AB162140 (Himi and Noda 2004)

3AL, 3BL, 3DL

(Himi and Noda 2004)


Cloning of the

5 full-length,

AB247917, AB247918,

6AS (2 genes), 6BS

PCR-product + RACE


AB247919, AB247920,

(2 genes), 6DS

AB247921 (Himi et al.

(Himi et al. 2006)



Cloning of the PCR-product

1 partial, genomic DNA

– (Ahmed et al. 2006)


Cloning of the PCR-product

2 partial, genomic DNA

EU815627 (Khlestkina et al. 2009b)

5BL, 5DL

(Khlestkina et al. 2009b and unpublished)

et al. 2009). There are no data on cloning and/or mapping of these genes in wheat with the exception of one partial nucleotide sequence of F35h (Yang et al. 2004). Three copies of the dihydroflavonol-4-reductase gene (Dfr) have been isolated from wheat genome and localized in homoeologous group 3 chromosomes (Himi and Noda 2004). Five copies of the anthocyanidin synthase gene (Ans) assigned to chromosomes 6A (two copies), 6B (two copies) and 6D (one copy) have been sequenced (Himi et al. 2006).

The genes participating at the latest stages of anthocyanin biosynthesis encode for different transferase enzymes. From these genes, only two have been partially isolatedfromwheatgenomethusfar:UDP-glucose:flavonoid3-O-glucosyltransferase (Ufgt; Ahmed et al. 2006) and UDP-rhamnose:anthocyanidin-3-glucoside rhamnosyltransferase gene (3Rt; Khlestkina et al. 2009b). Two 3Rt gene copies have been mapped to chromosomes 5BL and 5DL (Khlestkina et al. 2009b; unpublished results).

The genetic mapping data suggest that the ABP structural genes locations (Table 16.1) are different from that of the genes underpinning phenotypic variation in coloration traits (see below).

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