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Plant Physiol. 2006 Nov;142(3):1193-201. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CmCCD4a) contributes to white color formation in chrysanthemum petals.

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  • 1National Institute of Floricultural Science, Fujimoto 2-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8519, Japan.


The white petals of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.) are believed to contain a factor that inhibits the accumulation of carotenoids. To find this factor, we performed polymerase chain reaction-Select subtraction screening and obtained a clone expressed differentially in white and yellow petals. The deduced amino acid sequence of the protein (designated CmCCD4a) encoded by the clone was highly homologous to the sequence of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase. All the white-flowered chrysanthemum cultivars tested showed high levels of CmCCD4a transcript in their petals, whereas most of the yellow-flowered cultivars showed extremely low levels. Expression of CmCCD4a was strictly limited to flower petals and was not detected in other organs, such as the root, stem, or leaf. White petals turned yellow after the RNAi construct of CmCCD4a was introduced. These results indicate that in white petals of chrysanthemums, carotenoids are synthesized but are subsequently degraded into colorless compounds, which results in the white color.

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