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Plant Physiol. 2019 Jan 8. pii: pp.01468.2018. doi: 10.1104/pp.18.01468. [Epub ahead of print]

Biosynthesis of 2-phenylethanol in rose petals is linked to the expression of one allele of RhPAAS.

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Univ Lyon, UJM-Saint-Etienne, CNRS, BVpam, FRE 3727 CITY: SAINT-ETIENNE France [FR].
INRA CITY: Beaucouzé France [FR].
Ecole Normale Supérieure CITY: Lyon France [FR].
Ecole Normale Superieure CITY: Lyon France [FR].
INRA CITY: Beaucouze POSTAL_CODE: 49071 France [FR].
Ecole Normale Superieure CITY: Lyon POSTAL_CODE: 69364 France [FR].
Univ Lyon, UJM-Saint-Etienne, CNRS, BVpam, FRE 3727 CITY: SAINT-ETIENNE France [FR]


Floral scent is one of the most important characters in horticultural plants. Roses (Rosa sp.) have been cultivated for their scent since antiquity. However, probably by selecting for cultivars with long vase life, breeders have lost the fragrant character in many modern roses, especially the ones bred for the cut flower market. Genetic inheritance of scent characters has remained elusive so far. In-depth knowledge of this quantitative trait is thus very much needed to breed more fragrant commercial cultivars. Furthermore, rose hybrids harbor a composite genomic structure, which complexifies quantitative trait studies. To understand rose scent inheritance, we characterized a segregating population from two diploid cultivars, Rosa x hybrida cv. 'H190' and Rosa wichurana, which have contrasting scent profiles. Several quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for the major volatile compounds in this progeny were identified. One among these loci contributing to the production of 2-phenylethanol, responsible for the characteristic odor of rose, was found to be co-localized with a candidate gene belonging to the 2-phenylethanol biosynthesis pathway: the PHENYLACETALDEHYDE SYNTHASE gene (RhPAAS). An in-depth allele-specific expression analysis in the progeny demonstrated that only one allele was highly expressed and was responsible for the production of 2-phenylethanol. Unexpectedly, its expression was found to start early during flower development, before the production of the volatile 2-phenylethanol, leading to the accumulation of glycosylated compounds in petals.


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