Volume 68 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 128-138
The Japanese morning glory (Ipomoea nil) and petunia (Petunia hybrida), locally called “Asagao” and “Tsukubane-asagao”, respectively, are popular garden plants. They have been utilized as model plants for studying the genetic basis of floricultural traits, especially anthocyanin pigmentation in flower petals. In their long history of genetic studies, many mutations affecting flower pigmentation have been characterized, and both structural and regulatory genes for the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway have been identified. In this review, we will summarize recent advances in the understanding of flower pigmentation in the two species with respect to flower hue and color patterning. Regarding flower hue, we will describe a novel enhancer of flavonoid production that controls the intensity of flower pigmentation, new aspects related to a flavonoid glucosyltransferase that has been known for a long time, and the regulatory mechanisms of vacuolar pH being a key determinant of red and blue coloration. On color patterning, we describe particular flower patterns regulated by epigenetic and RNA-silencing mechanisms. As high-quality whole genome sequences of the Japanese morning glory and petunia wild parents (P. axillaris and P. inflata, respectively) were published in 2016, further study on flower pigmentation will be accelerated.