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Plant Physiol. 1991 Sep;97(1):343-51.

Dihydroflavonol Reductase Activity in Relation to Differential Anthocyanin Accumulation in Juvenile and Mature Phase Hedera helix L.

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Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108.


Juvenile phase English ivy (Hedera helix L.) plants accumulate anthocyanin pigment in the hypodermis of stems and petioles, whereas genetically identical plants of the mature phase do not. The objective of this work was to assess which enzyme(s) might limit anthocyanin accumulation in mature phase ivy. Leaf discs of both juvenile and mature phase ivy accumulated comparable levels of the flavonols kaempferol and quercetin, whereas only juvenile phase discs accumulated anthocyanin. The accumulation of quercetin, but lack of accumulation of leucocyanidin or anthocyanin in mature phase discs, suggested that mature discs lacked dihydroflavonol reductase activity. There was no detectable dihydroflavonol reductase activity in mature phase discs, whereas there was an induction of activity in juvenile phase discs in response to sucrose, or photosynthetically fixed carbon, and light as a photomorphogenic signal. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, an enzyme early in the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway, was induced above its basal level by sucrose and light in discs of both phases of ivy, with greater activity in mature phase discs. Phenylpropanoids, a class of compounds that are precursors to flavonoids, accumulated in leaf discs of both phases, with greater levels in mature phase discs. These results indicate that the lack of dihydroflavonol reductase activity limits the accumulation of anthocyanin in mature phase tissue.


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