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Theor Appl Genet. 2009 Dec;120(1):45-57. doi: 10.1007/s00122-009-1158-3. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

The potato developer (D) locus encodes an R2R3 MYB transcription factor that regulates expression of multiple anthocyanin structural genes in tuber skin.

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  • 1Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-1901, USA.


A dominant allele at the D locus (also known as I in diploid potato) is required for the synthesis of red and purple anthocyanin pigments in tuber skin. It has previously been reported that D maps to a region of chromosome 10 that harbors one or more homologs of Petunia an2, an R2R3 MYB transcription factor that coordinately regulates the expression of multiple anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in the floral limb. To test whether D acts similarly in tuber skin, RT-PCR was used to evaluate the expression of flavanone 3-hydroxylase (f3h), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (dfr) and flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (f3'5'h). All three genes were expressed in the periderm of red- and purple-skinned clones, while dfr and f3'5'h were not expressed, and f3h was only weakly expressed, in white-skinned clones. A potato cDNA clone with similarity to an2 was isolated from an expression library prepared from red tuber skin, and an assay developed to distinguish the two alleles of this gene in a diploid potato clone known to be heterozygous Dd. One allele was observed to cosegregate with pigmented skin in an F(1) population of 136 individuals. This allele was expressed in tuber skin of red- and purple-colored progeny, but not in white tubers, while other parental alleles were not expressed in white or colored tubers. The allele was placed under the control of a doubled 35S promoter and transformed into the light red-colored cultivar Désirée, the white-skinned cultivar Bintje, and two white diploid clones known to lack the functional allele of D. Transformants accumulated pigment in tuber skin, as well as in other tissues, including young foliage, flower petals, and tuber flesh.

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