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Plant Mol Biol. 2007 Jan;63(1):125-35. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

A single-base deletion in soybean flavonol synthase gene is associated with magenta flower color.

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National Institute of Crop Science and University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8518, Japan.


The Wm locus of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] controls flower color. Dominant Wm and recessive wm allele of the locus produce purple and magenta flower, respectively. A putative full-length cDNA of flavonol synthase (FLS), gmfls1 was isolated by 5' RACE and end-to-end PCR from a cultivar Harosoy with purple flower (WmWm). Sequence analysis revealed that gmfls1 consisted of 1,208 nucleotides encoding 334 amino acids. It had 59-72% homology with FLS proteins of other plant species. Conserved dioxygenase domains A and B were found in the deduced polypeptide. Sequence comparison between Harosoy and Harosoy-wm (magenta flower mutant of Harosoy; wmwm) revealed that they differed by a single G deletion in the coding region of Harosoy-wm. The deletion changed the subsequent reading frame resulting in a truncated polypeptide consisting of 37 amino acids that lacked the dioxygenase domains A and B. Extracts of E. coli cells expressing gmfls1 of Harosoy catalyzed the formation of quercetin from dihydroquercetin, whereas cell extracts expressing gmfls1 of Harosoy-wm had no FLS activity. Genomic Southern analysis suggested the existence of three to four copies of the FLS gene in the soybean genome. CAPS analysis was performed to detect the single-base deletion. Harosoy and Clark (WmWm) exhibited longer fragments, while Harosoy-wm had shorter fragments due to the single-base deletion. The CAPS marker co-segregated with genotypes at Wm locus in a F(2) population segregating for the locus. Linkage mapping using SSR markers revealed that the Wm and gmfls1 were mapped at similar position in the molecular linkage group F. The above results strongly suggest that gmfls1 represents the Wm gene and that the single-base deletion may be responsible for magenta flower color.

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