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J Appl Genet. 2013 May;54(2):135-45. doi: 10.1007/s13353-012-0132-y. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Molecular mechanism of manipulating seed coat coloration in oilseed Brassica species.

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College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China.


Yellow seed is a desirable characteristic for the breeding of oilseed Brassica crops, but the manifestation of seed coat color is very intricate due to the involvement of various pigments, the main components of which are flavonols, proanthocyanidin (condensed tannin), and maybe some other phenolic relatives, like lignin and melanin. The focus of this review is to examine the genetics mechanism regarding the biosynthesis and regulation of these pigments in the seed coat of oilseed Brassica. This knowledge came largely from recent researches on the molecular mechanism of TRANSPARENT TESTA (tt) and similar mutations in the ancestry model plant of Brassica, Arabidopsis. Some key enzymes in the flavonoid (flavonols and proanthocyanidin) biosynthetic pathway have been characterized in tt mutants. Some orthologs to these TRANSPARENT TESTA genes have also been cloned in Brassica species. However, it is suggested that some alterative metabolism pathways, including lignin and melanin, might also be involved in seed color manifestation. Polyphenol oxidases, such as laccase, tyrosinase, or even peroxidase, participate in the oxidation step in proanthocyanidin, lignin, and melanin biosynthesis. Moreover, some researches also suggested that melanic pigment in black-seeded Brassica was several fold higher than in yellow-seeded Brassica. Although more experiments are required to evaluate the importance of lignin and melanin in seed coat browning, the current results suggest that the flavonols and proanthocyanidin are not the only roles affecting seed color.

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