The strawberry FaMYB1 transcription factor suppresses anthocyanin and flavonol accumulation in transgenic tobacco


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Fruit ripening is characterized by dramatic changes in gene expression, enzymatic activities and metabolism. Although the process of ripening has been studied extensively, we still lack valuable information on how the numerous metabolic pathways are regulated and co-ordinated. In this paper we describe the characterization of FaMYB1, a ripening regulated strawberry gene member of the MYB family of transcription factors. Flowers of transgenic tobacco lines overexpressing FaMYB1 showed a severe reduction in pigmentation. A reduction in the level of cyanidin 3-rutinoside (an anthocyanin) and of quercetin-glycosides (flavonols) was observed. Expression of late flavonoid biosynthesis genes and their enzyme activities were aversely affected by FaMYB1 overexpression. Two-hybrid assays in yeast showed that FaMYB1 could interact with other known anthocyanin regulators, but it does not act as a transcriptional activator. Interestingly, the C-terminus of FaMYB1 contains the motif pdLNLD/ELxiG/S. This motif is contained in a region recently proposed to be involved in the repression of transcription by AtMYB4, an Arabidopsis MYB protein. Our results suggest that FaMYB1 may play a key role in regulating the biosynthesis of anthocyanins and flavonols in strawberry. It may act to repress transcription in order to balance the levels of anthocyanin pigments produced at the latter stages of strawberry fruit maturation, and/or to regulate metabolite levels in various branches of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway.