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Planta. 2009 Sep;230(4):747-54. doi: 10.1007/s00425-009-0978-3. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

The endogenous GL3, but not EGL3, gene is necessary for anthocyanin accumulation as induced by nitrogen depletion in Arabidopsis rosette stage leaves.

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Faculty of Science and Technology, Centre for Organelle Research, University of Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway.


The bHLH transcription factors EGL3 (ENHANCER OF GLABRA3) and its close homologue GL3 (GLABRA3) are important regulators of the anthocyanin pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana, and together with TTG1 (a WD40 repeat protein) and MYB transcription factors regulate specific genes in the pathway. In response to nitrogen depletion, the MYB genes PAP1/PAP2 (production of anthocyanin pigment 1/2) and GL3 are strongly induced, and anthocyanin synthesis is activated in seedlings and rosette stage plants. In this study we show that anthocyanins accumulate in both wild type and egl3, but not in gl3 loss-of-function mutants when depleted of nitrogen. Several structural genes of flavonoid metabolism including CHS (chalcone synthase), FLS1 (flavonol synthase 1) and ANS (anthocyanidin synthase) were induced in response to nitrogen depletion in wild type as well as in the egl3 and gl3 mutants. Strikingly, in the gl3 mutant DFR (dihydroflavonol-4-reductase) transcript level was only 2% of the levels in wild type or egl3 mutant. Hence, low expression of DFR appears to be the bottleneck preventing anthocyanin synthesis in the gl3 mutant. The specific effect on DFR, but not ANS is compatible with involvement of the MYBL2 inhibitor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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