Carotenoids are major accessory pigments in the chloroplast, as well as acting as phytohormones and volatile compound precursors that influence plant development and confer characteristic colours, affecting both the aesthetic and nutritional value of fruits. Carotenoid pigmentation in ripening fruits is highly dependent on developmental trajectories. Transcription factors incorporate developmental and phytohormone signalling to regulate the biosynthesis process. In contrast to the well-established pathways regulating ripening-related carotenoid biosynthesis in climacteric fruit, carotenoid regulation in nonclimacteric fruit is poorly understood. Capsanthin is the primary carotenoid of nonclimacteric pepper (Capsicum) fruit; its biosynthesis is tightly associated with fruit ripening, and it confers red pigmentation to the ripening fruit. In this study, using a coexpression analysis, we identified an R-R-type MYB transcription factor, DIVARICATA1, and demonstrated its role in capsanthin biosynthesis. DIVARICATA1 encodes a nucleus-localised protein that functions primarily as a transcriptional activator. Functional analyses showed that DIVARICATA1 positively regulates carotenoid biosynthetic gene (CBG) transcript levels and capsanthin levels by directly binding to and activating CBG promoter transcription. Furthermore, an association analysis revealed a significant positive association between DIVARICATA1 transcription level and capsanthin content. Abscisic acid (ABA) promotes capsanthin biosynthesis in a DIVARICATA1-dependent manner. Comparative transcriptomic analysis of DIVARICATA1 in Solanaceae plants showed that its function likely differs among species. Moreover, the pepper DIVARICATA1 gene could be regulated by the ripening regulator MADS-RIN. This study illustrates the transcriptional regulation of capsanthin biosynthesis and offers a novel target for breeding peppers with high red colour intensity.
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology