Guangyan Yang, Manyi Sun, Lester Brewer, Zikai Tang, Niels Nieuwenhuizen, Janine Cooney, Shaozhuo Xu, Jiawen Sheng, Christelle Andre, Cheng Xue, Ria Rebstock, Bo Yang, Wenjing Chang, Yueyuan Liu, Jiaming Li, Runze Wang, Mengfan Qin, Cyril Brendolise, Andrew C. Allan, Richard V. Espley, Kui Lin‐Wang, Jun Wu

Allelic variation of BBX24 is a dominant determinant controlling red coloration and dwarfism in pear

  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Biotechnology

SummaryVariation in anthocyanin biosynthesis in pear fruit provides genetic germplasm resources for breeding, while dwarfing is an important agronomic trait, which is beneficial to reduce the management costs and allow for the implementation of high‐density cultivation. Here, we combined bulked segregant analysis (BSA), quantitative trait loci (QTL), and structural variation (SV) analysis to identify a 14‐bp deletion which caused a frame shift mutation and resulted in the premature translation termination of a B‐box (BBX) family of zinc transcription factor, PyBBX24, and its allelic variation termed PyBBX24ΔN14. PyBBX24ΔN14 overexpression promotes anthocyanin biosynthesis in pear, strawberry, Arabidopsis, tobacco, and tomato, while that of PyBBX24 did not. PyBBX24ΔN14 directly activates the transcription of PyUFGT and PyMYB10 through interaction with PyHY5. Moreover, stable overexpression of PyBBX24ΔN14 exhibits a dwarfing phenotype in Arabidopsis, tobacco, and tomato plants. PyBBX24ΔN14 can activate the expression of PyGA2ox8 via directly binding to its promoter, thereby deactivating bioactive GAs and reducing the plant height. However, the nuclear localization signal (NLS) and Valine‐Proline (VP) motifs in the C‐terminus of PyBBX24 reverse these effects. Interestingly, mutations leading to premature termination of PyBBX24 were also identified in red sports of un‐related European pear varieties. We conclude that mutations in PyBBX24 gene link both an increase in pigmentation and a decrease in plant height.

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