The novel allele of the LhMYB12 gene is involved in splatter-type spot formation on the flower tepals of Asiatic hybrid lilies (Lilium spp.)



  • Many angiosperm families develop spatially regulated anthocyanin spots on their flowers. The Asiatic hybrid lily (Lilium spp.) cv ‘Latvia’ develops splatter-type spots on its tepals. The splatters arise simply from the deposition of anthocyanin pigments in the tepal epidermis.
  • To determine how splatter development was regulated, we analysed the transcription of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes, and isolated and characterized an R2R3-MYB gene specific to splatter pigmentation.
  • All anthocyanin biosynthesis genes were expressed in splatter-containing regions of tepals, but not in other regions, indicating that splatter pigmentation is caused by the transcriptional regulation of biosynthesis genes. Previously characterized LhMYB12 regulators were not involved in splatter pigmentation, but, instead, a new allele of the LhMYB12 gene, LhMYB12-Lat, isolated in this study, contributed to splatter development. In ‘Latvia’ and other lily plants expressing splatters, LhMYB12-Lat was preferentially transcribed in the splatter-containing region of tepals. Progeny segregation analysis showed that LhMYB12-Lat genotype and splatter phenotype were co-segregated among the F1 population, indicating that LhMYB12-Lat determines the presence or absence of splatters.
  • LhMYB12-Lat contributes to splatter development, but not to full-tepal pigmentation and raised spot pigmentation. As a result of its unique sequences and different transcription profiles, this new allele of LhMYB12 should be a novel R2R3-MYB specifically associating with splatter spot development.