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Plant biochemistry

Anthocyanin biosynthesis in roses


Anthocyanin is the principal pigment in flowers, conferring intense red-to-blue cyanic colours on petals and helping to attract pollinators. Its biosynthesis involves glycosylation steps that are important for the stability of the pigment and for its aqueous solubility in vacuoles1,2. Here we describe anthocyanin biosynthesis in roses (Rosa hybrida), which is unlike the pathway used in other flowers in that it relies on a single enzyme to achieve glycosylation at two different positions on the precursor molecule. Phylogenetic analysis also indicates that this previously unknown glucosyltransferase enzyme may be unique to roses, with glycosylation having apparently evolved into a single stabilizing step in other plants.

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Figure 1: A previously undiscovered rose anthocyanidin glucosyltransferase and its phylogeny.


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Correspondence to Masahiko Suzuki.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Ogata, J., Kanno, Y., Itoh, Y. et al. Anthocyanin biosynthesis in roses. Nature 435, 757–758 (2005).

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