Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Exp Bot. 2009;60(6):1783-97. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp048. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Molecular and functional characterization of a novel chromoplast-specific lycopene beta-cyclase from Citrus and its relation to lycopene accumulation.

Author information

Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Valencia, Spain.


Carotenoids are the main pigments responsible of the colouration of Citrus fruits. The beta-cyclization of lycopene, catalysed by the lycopene beta-cyclases (beta-LCY), seems to be a key regulatory step of the carotenoid pathway. In the present study, two beta-LCYs from orange fruits (Citrus sinensis), named Csbeta-LCY1 and Csbeta-LCY2 have been isolated and the activity of the encoded proteins was demonstrated by functional analysis. Csbeta-LCY1 was expressed at low levels and remained relatively constant during fruit ripening while Csbeta-LCY2 showed a chromoplast-specific expression and a marked induction in both peel and pulp of orange fruits in parallel with the accumulation of beta,beta-xanthophylls. The potential involvement of Csbeta-LCY2 in the accumulation of lycopene, characteristic of some Citrus species such as red grapefruits, was investigated. Expression of Csbeta-LCY2 and another seven carotenoid biosynthetic genes were studied in the peel and pulp of the high lycopene-accumulating grapefruit, Star Ruby, and compared with those of ordinary Navel orange. In Star Ruby, the accumulation of lycopene during fruit maturation was associated with a substantial reduction in the expression of both beta-LCY2 and beta-CHX genes with respect to Navel orange. Moreover, two different alleles of beta-LCY2: beta-LCY2a and beta-LCY2b were isolated from both genotypes, and functional assays demonstrated that the lycopene beta-cyclase activity of the allele b was almost null. Interestingly, Star Ruby grapefruit predominantly expressed the unfunctional beta-LCY2b allele during fruit ripening whereas Navel oranges preferably expressed the functional allele. It is suggested that the presence of diverse alleles of the beta-LCY2 gene, encoding enzymes with altered activity, with different transcript accumulation may be an additional regulatory mechanism of carotenoid synthesis involved in the accumulation of lycopene in red grapefruits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center