The maize P gene is a transcriptional regulator of genes encoding enzymes for flavonoid biosynthesis in the pathway leading to the production of a red phlobaphene pigment. Multiple alleles of the P gene confer distinct patterns of pigmentation to specific floral organs, such as the kernel pericarp and cob tissues. To determine the basis of allele-specific pigmentation, we have characterized the gene products and transcript accumulation patterns of the P-wr allele, which specifies colorless pericarps and red cob tissues. RNA transcripts of P-wr are present in colorless pericarps as well as in the colored cob tissues; however, the expression of P. wr in pericarp does not induce the accumulation of transcripts from the C2 and A1 genes, which encode enzymes for flavonoid pigment biosynthesis. The coding sequences of P-wr were compared with the P- rr allele, which specifies red pericarp and red cob. The P-wr and P-rr cDNA sequences are very similar in their 5' regions. There are only two nucleotide changes that result in amino acid differences; both are outside of the Myb-homologous DNA binding domain. In contrast, the 3' coding region of P-rr is replaced by a unique 210-bp sequence in P-wr. The predicted P-wr protein has a C-terminal sequence resembling a cysteine-containing metal binding domain that is not present in the P-rr protein. These results indicate that the differential pericarp pigmentation specified by the P-rr end P-wr alleles does not result from an absence of P-wr transcripts in pericarps. Rather, the allele-specific patterns of P-rr and P-wr pigmentation may be associated with structural differences in the proteins encoded by each allele.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology