Volume 68 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 139-143
In a previous study, two genes responsible for white flower phenotypes in carnation were identified. These genes encoded enzymes involved in anthocyanin synthesis, namely, flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H) and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), and showed reduced expression in the white flower phenotypes. Here, we identify another candidate gene for white phenotype in carnation flowers using an RNA-seq analysis followed by RT-PCR. This candidate gene encodes a transcriptional regulatory factor of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) type. In the cultivar examined here, both F3H and DFR genes produced active enzyme proteins; however, expression of DFR and of genes for enzymes involved in the downstream anthocyanin synthetic pathway from DFR was repressed in the absence of bHLH expression. Occasionally, flowers of the white flowered cultivar used here have red speckles and stripes on the white petals. We found that expression of bHLH occurred in these red petal segments and induced expression of DFR and the following downstream enzymes. Our results indicate that a member of the bHLH superfamily is another gene involved in anthocyanin synthesis in addition to structural genes encoding enzymes.